Firefighters Continue to Monitor a Grassfire in Lea County

Staff Report
NewsWest 9

LEA COUNTY - Firefighters are still watching the outskirts of a 75-thousand acre grass fire, north of Hobbs in Knowles, New Mexico.

Crews say the fire is 70 percent contained, and they're watching winds to make sure they don't get a flare up.

Investigators are looking into the cause of the fires now called "The Swamp Stiles Complex Fire".

The fire rolled through the Goff Dairy on Highway 132 burning 75-hundred tons of hay.

A spokesperson for New Mexico State Forestry says the fire is still burning six of the hay stacks.

A tanker at the Dairy is also still burning as firefighters put out hot spots.

The bulk of the fire burned in Lea County, but jumped five miles into Gaines County.

Roads reopened Saturday morning and residents were allowed back into their homes.

Five homes burned to the ground, and four other structures were destroyed or damaged.

"This is a sign of things to come, unless the area gets some significant rain fall.  So people need to be prepared," Dan Ware, Public Information Officer, with the New Mexico State Forestry, said.

There were only two reported injuries. One fire fighter was treated for smoke inhalation, and one EMT was sent home with a minor back injury.