60 MPH Winds Blast Through Basin, Signifying Start of Grass Fire Season

60 MPH Winds Blast Through Basin, Signifying Start of Grass Fire Season

By: Julia Deng
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Powerful winds blasted through the Basin Wednesday and Thursday, leaving a trail of damage many were not prepared for.

Patrick Retman, District Chief for the Midland Fire Department, estimated gusts peaked at "50 to 60 miles per hour."

"It was horrible," said West Odessa resident Ashley Bower. "I thought there was a tornado. My tin roof was popping and everything. It was scary."

She lives in a mobile home - a vulnerable place to be during windy season, according to Retman.

"In the past, mobile homes have been moved during straight-line wind events like the one we had last night," he told NewsWest 9.

He said everybody - trailer, house and apartment residents alike - could benefit from properly securing lawn furniture, trampolines and other objects outside.

"Just anchor it down," said Retman. "It's a wide area the wind will get under."

West Odessans - likely veterans of the Basin's windy seasons - appeared to be well-prepared for Wednesday night's powerful gusts.

"If you look around down [Tripp Ave], you'll see all these trampolines tied to fences or stacked sideways and tied to something," said Bower.

NewsWest 9 counted six trampolines anchored to fences within a two-mile radius.

Bower's neighbors said they were "really worried" about metal trampoline posts getting picked up in the wind and injuring children, pets or passersby.

According to Retman, current weather currents are the "perfect recipe" for increased fire risks.

"When the winds pick up, we easily see a drop in rainfall [and] an increase in temperature," he explained. "If there is high grass [near your home] and it comes up to your house, try to keep an area mowed down around your house."

At least four grass fires were reported Wednesday night and early Thursday morning in the Midland-Odessa area.

Officials did not report responding to any related injures.