Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Grass fire consumes 2,000 acres

CLOVIS — Wind gusts approached 50 mph, but firefighters across the region brought a large grass fire under control in about four hours Sunday.

About 2,000 acres were scorched, but no injuries were reported and no structures were lost, officials said.

Crews remained on scene north of Clovis through Monday to monitor hot spots, Clovis Fire Department Battalion Chief Joel Gershon said.

The initial report of a small brush fire came around 10 a.m. from near the intersection of Curry Road I and Curry Road 17, he said, but “the wind was blowing pretty good out there so a little grass fire quickly became a big grass fire.”

The cause of the fire remained undetermined Monday and will be reported as such to the state, he said.

“Something like this, it’s really hard to determine unless it’s just blatant,” he said.

The blaze was “95 to 98 percent contained” by 2:30 p.m. Sunday, with only some “smoldering trees ... all in the black, already burned area,” remaining Monday afternoon.

Gershon said the fire was in the area of the Ned Houk speedway.

Agencies from Clovis, Grady, Broadview, Melrose, Texico, Cannon Air Force Base, Bovina, Pleasant Hill, Farwell and Bootleg all responded to the fire.

As word of the fire spread late Sunday morning, individuals and groups came forward with donations to support firefighters doing their work.

“The community outpouring has been amazing with the donations of food and water, and we really appreciate it,” Gershon said.

Churches, restaurant owners and individuals donated about 50 cases of water and hundreds of meals to emergency personnel.

“I can’t even begin to tell you, just the random citizens that came by and brought us a few cases of water at a time, granola bars and fruit,” Gershon said. “And whatever cases of water that weren’t used, we will always keep some on all of our fire trucks.”

The weekend blaze was “pretty big,” and larger than normal, but such fires are not unheard of during the dry season, Gershon said. He asked that the public remember “that we are back in drought conditions and fire danger is high, so be careful about disposing of cigarettes out of car windows and any open burning.”

The National Weather Service in Albuquerque noted peak wind gusts Sunday in Clovis approaching 50 mph in the afternoon, and a southeast-blowing gust of 40 mph northwest of Clovis around 10:10 a.m., according to meteorologist Annette Mokry.

“While the wind is probably not so unusual, the dryness is,” she said Monday.