WEST TEXAS - Extremely low humidity and strong winds came together Sunday to create near perfect conditions for grass fires. By mid-afternoon fires were burning thousands of acres from Andrews to Big Spring and south toward Big Lake.
Several large fires broke out across Howard County Sunday afternoon. The largest, which is still burning, is called the Garrett Ranch fire and is near the Howard and Mitchell County line. At one time, the fire extended more than five miles long. It has burned oil facilities and several structures.
Another fire broke out around 3:00 just north of Big Spring near Jonesboro and Hilltop Roads. 80 homes were threatened by the fire. One vacant house and several sheds were destroyed by the flames. Residents had to evacuate the area while crews worked to put out the flames.
A third fire then broke out west of Big Spring near Cauble Road. The fire caused some tense moments as it moved toward the airpark area of the city. That fire also closed I-20 for several hours due to thick smoke.
A grassfire caused a tragic accident on Interstate 20 early Sunday afternoon. DPS troopers say a corvette was driving west when it entered thick smoke and stopped on the highway. That caused a chain reaction wreck with eight cars. A Chevy truck caught fire then caught fire. Five-year-old Cameron Dominguez was in the back seat of that truck. She died on the scene. Her uncle and brother were taken to Midland Memorial Hospital as was the driver of the corvette. The grass fire and chain reaction wreck caused I-20 to be closed for hours between Midland and Odessa. The interstate has since reopened.
A large fire east of Andrews consumed more than 20,000 acres Sunday. The fire started near Highway 115 and FM 1788 causing numerous roads to be shut down in the area. We're told the fire consumed lots of oil equipment and caused flow lines to catch fire. Fences and power poles were all on fire at one time. As of 11:00 Sunday night crews had gotten the upper hand on the fire.
Colorado City appears to have been hit very hard by grass fires. Sunday evening a fire spread into the city and burned an apartment, several homes, a store and part of a motel. The hospital and nursing home in Colorado City were evacuated at one point, but people were allowed to return as the danger subsided. The fire started near the airpark around 2:30 and traveled around 10 miles.