Fires devastated parts of the Permian Basin this weekend. Andrews County felt the heat. Flames could be seen for miles as a fire raged Sunday afternoon. It burned from TX 115 all the way to TX 349.
We're told the smell of the smoke was so powerful, that people could actually smell it miles before they saw it. Officials closed TX 176 for some time on Sunday, although they tell us no structures were lost. But they had to evacuate on three drilling rigs. Fire officials are still working that area.
Over in Howard County it was no different. They saw 3 huge fires. One of them occurred in Hilltop where 30 acres were lost. Quinn Ranch also lost 500 acres. James Parks from the Red Cross told Big 2 that 80 homes were evacuated for a four hour period. Luckily, no shelters had to be opened.
Another place that saw a number of fires on Sunday was Mitchell County -- especially around Colorado City. There were three fires in Mitchell County Sunday night. All told, 13 homes caught fire, and 10 families were displaced. the fires also shut down Interstate 20 for a bit Sunday night because of the smoke, but it opened before midnight, when the fires were improved.
The Texas Forest Service says they responded to 21 major fires -- covering more than 120,000 acres -- Sunday. Fire Marshal Dale Little told Big 2 that the equivalent of a small state was burned.
"Kind of comparing, if you took 300 miles by 200 miles and made it into a little oval, you would have 40,000 square miles that would be close to the size of the state of Kentucky," said Little. "That's how far spread they were."
Little says the wind was the biggest issue of the day. The second was traffic. He said people were just curious to see what was going on. Little says there is no telling how many fires there actually were in the state of Texas on Sunday.
Jackie Smith can be reached via e-email at firstname.lastname@example.org.