The fire season in southeast New Mexico had its explosive start in late February, causing Lea County officials to consider declaring a state of emergency to find money to manage the situation.
The dry and windy conditions that fed a grass fire charring almost 65,000 acres (map) earlier this week has left a lasting impression on the land.
“Nearly every week we’ve had some sort of grass fire and with the high winds coming this weekend, I’m told we should be expecting some more,” said Lea County Manager Mike Gallagher.
Gallagher says the county commission will consider passing a resolution declaring the area a disaster. That would pave the way for emergency funding and other assistance. “The declaration helps inform and bring attention to the negative affect the fire had in this area," he explained.
Officials say more than 2,000 man hours were spent trying to get the massive fire under control.
Damage to properties and other costs associated with fighting fires also worry officials that it could be an expensive fire season.
“I think the county would be looking at funding from other agencies such as the state or federal level but the county will do its part in responding to the fires as necessary,” said Gallagher.
The Lea County Commission will discuss the disaster declaration on Tuesday. If approved, the declaration will head to the governor for consideration.Watch video http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S1999389.shtml?cat=504