A large grassfire caused some major concerns and a significant response from emergency officials Tuesday afternoon.
Sundown Mayor, Jim Winn, said the fire started in Yoakum County around 3 pm on Tuesday. The strong winds caused the fire to move closer to Sundown, emergency officials encouraged about 900 residents to evacuate the area or seek shelter at the local high school and First Baptist Church. No evacuation was necessary in the end.
While residents kept a cautious eye, firefighters from Levelland, Brownfield and Whiteface worked to put out the fire. Winn said it was about 60% contained as of late Tuesday afternoon.
He said the fire had jumped a major roadway and taken out several power lines. Officials closed down Slaughter Rd. to the south of town.
“We have a lot of emergency vehicles, ambulances, fire trucks, firefighters,” Winn said. “And we didn’t want somebody running over them.”
Power transmission lines were damaged in the fire and caused some power outages for both Xcel Energy and Lyntegar Electric Cooperative. Representatives from both companies said crews were working to get power restored.
Also on scene, the Levelland Emergency Communications Unit. The mobile command center allows volunteer, amateur radio operators to connect and gather information for emergency officials.
“For example, awhile ago we had a request ‘Could you get us a spot forecast for this area? What the wind conditions are? Humidity?'” Whitney Owens said. “They tasked us, we got the information, sent it back to them and it helps them make fire fighting decisions.”
Despite all the help, Mayor Winn said he needed Mother Nature’s help in order to completely put out the fire.
“We need the wind to die down and we need the humidity to rise,” Winn said. “It’s a bad combination, low humidity and high winds and everything is dead from the winter and we just need a little help from Mother Nature.”