‘Explosive fuel’: Upper Valley fire example of how fast brush fire can spread

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A brush fire in the Upper Valley on Wednesday started in a grassy area and spread to three structures, one of which was a total loss. The West Valley Fire Department told KTSM 9 News that the buildings were for storage, saying the fire is the perfect example of how quickly brush fires can spread.

Courtesy EPFD

“We found a 150-foot storage building that was completely engulfed and we had very windy conditions the fire had spread from a grassy area over to the building,” said Manuel Maldonado the Assistant Chief of West Valley Fire Departement.

Dramatic flames can be seen in photos shared by the El Paso Fire Department. Maldonado says the flames in videos and pictures looked dramatic due to wind.

“The wind does that, the wind really extenuates the burning process that’s why in some of the video you might have seen almost like a torch effect because you don’t see the flames usually moving up without wind, and because of wind you see them blowing at the camera direction,” said Maldonado.

Maldonado says the mixture of wind in addition to the dry brush due to the drought in the Borderland caused for the fire to spread quickly,

“That makes the perfect, explosive fuel for a fire to be able to travel,” said Maldonado.

A neighbor tells KTSM 9 News he ran to help after seeing the brush in front of his home engulfed in flames on Wednesday.

Courtesy EPFD

“It was kind of intense because they couldn’t get back there because you can see there’s a fence in the way,” said Frank Sabina.

Saying it made him realize how easily a fire can start, especially this time of year.

“It just reminds me to keep my yard clean,n keep your grass low because any grass could spark. You could be mowing your lawn out here it’s this day, it’s this hot,” said Sabina.

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