Grass fire ignites Wednesday

Staff and Wire Reports

A grass fire that charred 1,500 acres of land along State Highway 467 and temporarily shut down two stretches of road Wednesday was ignited by a lit cigarette or the heat from a vehicle’s catalytic converter, according to a New Mexico State Forestry release.

The blaze started in a ditch on Highway 467 and burned toward Mitchell Dairy, north of U.S. Highway 70, near Portales, Forestry spokesman Dan Ware said.

No injuries or damage to structures or vehicles were reported, the release said.

U.S. 70 was also temporarily shut down due to smoke, though it was reopened within hours, according to Clovis Fire Dept. Capt. Karen Burns.

Eight local fire departments contained the afternoon blaze by 4 p.m., according to Clovis Fire Chief Ray Westerman.
Firefighters received a call about the blaze around 1 p.m.
Westerman said the fire was put out by firefighters and a fire line, or path cut into the pasture by a machine.

“A path about 40 feet wide was cut to stop the fire from spreading,” Westerman said.