Worst Fire Danger Predicted for This Weekend

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

PERMIAN BASIN - Dozens of fires have been scorching West Texas this past week; spreading fast, jumping roads and catching everything in their path up in a blaze.

And this weekend, according to firefighters, it stands to get even worse.

Midland firefighters told NewsWest 9, this kind of fire danger is unprecedented. They haven't seen anything like it in a long time.

"The outlook for Saturday and Sunday is very critical. As a matter of fact, it's off the charts," Midland Fire Marshal Jeff Meiner, said. "They can't find words for what's coming, because of the dry weather we have plus the high winds that we're expecting Saturday and Sunday. So we are gearing up. We've asked the state for more resources."

Conditions don't look good with a weather prediction of wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour, not to mention the bone-dry West Texas land deprived of rain.

"This is the driest six months we've ever had on record here in Midland, and they say they've been keeping records since 1930," Meiner said.

Midland firefighters have requested more aid from the state.

Fire departments from East and Central Texas will join officials this weekend through the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System.

But they're concerned with the number of fires that could break out.

Extra support responds to the entire region, and if too many fires break out, that added support could be lost to other fires outside of Midland.

"It's the competition for resources," Meiner said. "Yesterday was a good example of that. When the first unit arrived on the scene, they reported the fire at three acres. By the time help got there, it was over 100 acres and spreading fast."

They'll do everything they can to battle whatever blazes break out this weekend and encourage everyone to take great care.

"People drive to the fires," Meiner said. "We have firefighters in the road and in the streets trying to stop the fire from spreading. We're just asking people to stay out of the area. If you see a road block, do not run it. Get out of danger."

Also for this weekend, firefighters encourage everyone to refrain from starting outdoor fires, including barbecues. And if you do see any flames coming near your home, it's best to evacuate as quickly as possible.