Andrews Officials Advise "Defense Zone" For Residents

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

ANDREWS - Andrews officials had new advice for residents on Tuesday if any more grass fires break out in the County.

They said that Sunday's wildfire spread at a speed of five to seven miles per hour, charring areas down Highway 115 and causing evacuations across the county.

It doesn't seem fast, but Andrews officials said at that speed the fire could cross two football fields in 60 seconds.

Large brush and debris caught the fire across the highway, bringing it dangerously close to homes, and catching officials and residents by surprise.

"That's the first time it's come this close," 40-year Andrews resident, Hoss Crutcatr, said. "It's pretty scary when there's smoke so thick you can't see, and we moved our horses and dogs in back."

Andrews emergency officials, facing more grass fire danger later this week, are telling residents to help protect themselves should the flames come again.

It starts with setting up a 'defense zone' around the home.

"Defense zone is merely keeping brush cut down, keeping grass cut down, so that the fire doesn't have as much fuel to travel towards your house," Andrews Emergency Management Coordinator, Mike Cook, said.

Andrews officials are stressing to everyone to build 'defense zones' around their homes. Those are areas clear of tall grass and debris, making sure fire doesn't spread.

When NewsWest 9 arrived at Highway 115, locals were already gearing up for Round Two.

"I'm trying to knock the grass and lay it back," Crutcatr said. "And have a clear base about 10-foot. I think it'll slow it down. I think it helps. That's about all I can do."

Officials said there's even more ways you can keep your home safe from a wildfire.

"Mow the grass. I mean, that's the first thing that you can do because that's what's gonna catch first," Cook said. "If you've got trash piles, you need to get rid of those. If you've got any shrubbery or what not that's dead, trim it back."

Pieces of advice given in the hopes of keeping any blaze out of your backyard.