Area Firefighters Preparing for Nasty Grassfire Season

By Abby Reed
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND, TX/LEA COUNTY, N.M. - Grass fire season typically starts in January, but area firefighters are gearing up for an earlier start this year.

A wet Spring followed by a dry Summer, is making for the perfect fuel to spark up some flames. Spring and summer started out very moist, with lots of rain and bits of humidity. That moisture made grass grow tall out in pastures and along roads across the Basin and southeast New Mexico.

However, the Permian Basin and Southeast New Mexico had a hot, dry summer. That created tall, dry, crispy grass, which is highly flammable. It is especially flammable if someone tosses out a cigarette, or parks their running car along side the road, on top of it.

Area firefighters are asking folks to be proactive and create fire breaks around their homes by keeping grass short.

"Either mow it really short, or just kind of have it bladed off to bare mineral form," Eunice Fire Chief, Richard Cummins said.

"We like to see people get out around their homes, and clear all the combustible materials, that are close to their homes, mow their grass to a couple inches, and just be very cautious," Midland Assistant Fire Chief, Jeff Meiner said.

Fire officials from both Midland and Lea County say they've been working with their own firefighters to prepare for this fire season. They're working on mutual aid agreements with neighboring fire departments to get a leg up.