Grass Fire Causes Evacuations

Grass Fire Causes Evacuations

20 February 2011

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USA — Residents are back home after a large grass fire that started at 2p.m. Sunday.

CBS 7 spoke with volunteer firefighters and residents who say this is the worst fire they’ve seen this year.

Fire officials say 5% of the City of Andrews had to evacuate.

They fear this is just the beginning of wild fire season.

Ask any volunteer firefighter and they would tell you how mean Mother Nature can be.

“It’s pretty hard. You have to use the wind as you friend,” Edgar Manzana with the Eunice Volunteer Fire Dept. said, “You spray against it (wind) and water will come toward you.”

With the winds changing directions several times, Assistant Chief Ray Powers says the fire spread to more than 800 acres within an hour.

“It kind of got away from us a little bit, but we got it under control quickly,” Powers said.

Mike Leonard was one of the evacuees who had to leave his home.

“Didn’t know how large the fire was, but it was coming towards our neighborhood and the police wanted us to leave,” Leonard said. “Whether they would put out the fire wasn’t the question. I knew they would, but how close would it get to town and my house concerned me.”

Five surrounding counties came to the aid of the Andrews Volunteer Fire Department and even air support from the Texas Forest Service.

“We’re fortunate to get the help we have,” Powers said.

Powers says he doesn’t know how the fire started on the side of Highway 115, but he knows this won’t be the last.

“As spring time and summer time, come around with the low humidity,” Powers said, “It’s going to get worse.”

Sunday night, some volunteer firefighters will be on a graveyard shift as they keep an eye on the hot spots.

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