Fire burns 25,000 acres

Liliana Castillo and Sharna Johnson

Officials estimate a fire Saturday on the Curry and Quay county line burned 20,000 to 25,000 acres.

Karen Burns with the Clovis Fire Department said the number is a rough estimate and officials will get a better figure in daylight.

Five structures were burned but there were no injuries, she said, with 22 fire departments fighting the blaze from Curry, Quay and Roosevelt counties and West Texas.

The fire is estimated to have started near McAlister in the early afternoon but a cause is not known.

Burns said the fire was 15 miles long and two to three miles wide at its widest.

It was actually two fires, according to Grady Fire Chief Wesley Jones.

Jones said his crews were in McAlister assisting their western neighbors when they got the call that a second fire had started near their own community.

“We got called back to our county,” he said.

Jones said the fire was Grady’s closest call yet in what is rapidly becoming an intense fire season throughout the state.

While the blaze was at its peak, with vortexes that rose as high as 40 feet, Jones said officials closed State Roads 268, which runs north of Melrose, and 288 which runs east and west to intersect with State Road 209.

He said the only home he knows of that burned was unoccupied.

Residents of Grady and Broadview were put on notice that they may be ordered to evacuate and many of them gathered at the village fire station, which serves as a fire shelter, he said.

At 9 p.m. there were still more than 30 residents gathered at the station, providing meals to tired fire crews.

“The community gets together,” he said.

Jones said throughout the night there will be people out riding around to be sure the fire doesn’t flare up again.

State Forestry Spokesman Dan Ware said air and ground crews fought the fire to keep it from getting into Grady.

Melrose Mayor Tuck Monk said the fire began in early afternoon and burned north and east.