Lea County Burning Off Dry Grass to Prevent Massive Wildfire

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) - Authorities are burning off dry grass along highways in Lea County, hoping to avoid a catastrophic wildfire by reducing the plants that would fuel it.

The Hobbs Fire Department plans to do burning through Jan. 29 to get rid of dry grass, tumbleweeds and other foliage along N.M. 483. Firefighters conducted one such controlled burn Monday.

Lea County emergency preparedness director Lorenzo Velasquez says burned off areas will act as a fire break.  Grassfires in 2008 burned more than 150,000 acres in Lea County. At least one of the fires started along N.M. 483.