Fire Burns 75,000 Acres in Lea County

By Camaron Abundes
NewsWest 9

LEA CO.- A 75 thousand acre rolling grass fire North of Hobbs in Knowles, New Mexico is no longer spreading. Roads reopened early Saturday and residents were allowed back into their homes. Dan Ware, Public Relations Coordinator for New Mexico State Forestry, said nine structures including five homes were damaged. An EMT suffered a minor back injury, and one firefighters was treated for smoke inhalation.

"You see fires out here all the time and you hope and pray that nothing happens to anybody, but it does feel different when it happens to you," said Robbie Roberts, who lost many of her belongings when her storage trailer caught fire. "I can't even find an ash that resembles my hope chest, and my daughter was totally devastated by it. She said "Mom the memories are all gone," and I said no no there not, they're right here and you can always make more."

At the Goff Diary, 7,500 tons of hay are still burning. A tanker on the property also caught fire and burned fuel as members of the Knowles Volunteer Fire Department looked on.

"Hay burns for a long time, so there will be smoke in the are for quite a while," said Ware, "Right now the weather is playing ball with us, and so the fire spread has stopped. Crews over in Texas were able to cut the fire off."

In Lea County, Investigators are still looking for answers and they are worried about the months ahead.

"Really this is a sign of things to come. Unless this area gets a lot of sustained rain fall we are really going to see fires like this popping up, " said Ware who advises communities to work together to prevent fire.