A wild fire Friday officials say was started by a truck's hot exhaust system consumed more than 1,200 acres of range land in Quay County and closed I-40 for about an hour.
It took seven Quay County fire departments and four Texas fire departments to extinguish the fire, said Quay County Fire Marshal Donald Adams.
Quay County agencies fighting the fire were San Jon, Bard-Endee, Rural 1 and Rural 2, Logan and Tucumcari.
Adams said the fire was reported at 3:10 p.m. and the fire crews had it out by 8 p.m. with a few hot spots remaining.
“The Bard-Endee fire department remained on the scene till 11:49 to monitor the hot spots,” Adams said.
Adams said Friday’s high winds caused the fire to spread rapidly. Winds at the time of the fire were 29 mph out of the south west with gusts of 44 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
High winds and blinding smoke are what prompted New Mexico State Police and Texas Department of Public Safety Officials to close traffic along I-40.
Adams said the fire began on private land south of I-40. He said the catalytic converter of a pick-up truck stuck in mud caused the fire which burned 1,225 acres on the New Mexico side of the state line.
Adams said despite the moisture that has fallen in Quay County over the past several months there is still a real danger for grass fires.
“The ground is soaked, but that moisture runs deep in the ground,” Adams said. “ However, the grass and growth on top surface is arid and has been dried by the winds. It takes very little to ignite a fire.
“We have had two small fires grow from people throwing out cigarettes,” Adams said. “People need to pay attention.”