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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Large grass fires threaten homes

     

    Residents evacuated from the Bates Field and South Ranchito were allowed to return home late Sunday night after a small fire became two large grass fires near the Ector County Industrial Park on South Loop 338 Sunday afternoon.

    One fire spread east and the other moved west on 338. The fire at one point jumped over Highway 385. City of Odessa Public Information Officer Andrea Goodson said about 2500 acres were consumed by the fire. An evening update from the Texas Forest Service said 1500 acres were burned and fire fighters were holding the head of the fire at the Water Treatment Plant Road.

    As of 8:45 p.m., neither fire was contained, although both were controlled, Goodson said. There were no deaths, injuries or damage to structures, although the Bob Derrington Water Reclamation Plant was threatened and evacuated, Goodson said.

    Residents from the Bates Field and South Ranchito communities were evacuated around 5 p.m. by sheriff deputies and Deputy of Public Safety officers. Many roads into the area were blocked off by law enforcement. The command center, where officials gathered on Loop 338 was threatened and almost evacuated at least once.

    Several fire agencies were involved in fighting the blazes. Odessa Fire Department was the lead agency, along with help from the Midland Fire Department, the Midland County Volunteer Department, the West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department, the South Ector County Volunteer Fire Department, the Northeast Midland Volunteer Fire Department and the Texas Forest Service.

    The initial call came in at 3:47 pm on Farm to Market Road 3503.

    Bates Field resident Rodney Lee was watching his son Tuff and his friend Cole fish at the Monahans Draw when he saw the fire.

    “”I watched it get bigger and bigger,”” he said.

    Many evacuees stood beside their cars watching the firefighters fight the blaze. Residents said they waited, wondering if their homes are safe and when they might be allowed home.

    Bates Field resident Nancy Peterson said she was worried about her 10 horses and seven miniature donkeys. She said she’s done this before, a fire a few years ago forced them to evacuate.

    “”We’ve got a lot of stuff out there,”” she said.””

    Fire officials don’t know what caused the fire. High winds, with gusts of up to 41 miles per hour hampered containment efforts. Texas Forest Service responded to the fires at 4:25 p.m.with a helitanker, heavy air tanker, bulldozers and engines.

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