Winds push wildfire smoke over West Texas

Winds are pushing smoke from wildfires in the panhandle to West Texas. Many residents are complaining of a haze and smoke smell in the air, according to a City of Odessa press release.
The National Weather Service predicts the winds will remain at approximately 10 miles per hour causing the smoky haze to hang over West Texas. Residents with respiratory issues are encouraged to stay indoors.
Mike Adkins, Ector County Independent School District’s public information officer, said in a press release the nursing department consulted with local health and medical officials about the air quality this morning and made the decision to keep all elementary school PE and recess inside for the day.
Adkins said they have advised middle schools and high schools to limit outdoor exposure as much as possible, including keep PE classes indoors, and keep students with asthma or other respiratory conditions inside.
“Our athletics department is still evaluating after-school practices and games. There are soccer games scheduled for this evening – Odessa High vs. Lee at Ratliff Stadium and Permian travels to Amarillo Tascosa – and conditions are being watched closely to determine whether they are safe to play. We will let you know if anything changes,” Adkins said.
The panhandle fires began yesterday afternoon and have burned an estimated 40,000 to 65,000 acres, one fatality and multiple injuries have been reported, and multiple communities have been evacuated.
Dry conditions, low humidity and high winds are ideal conditions for wildfires. Fires can start quickly and burn rapidly. Residents need to be aware of fire hazards and avoid outdoor burning or cooking. Tall grass and other vegetation should be cut and firewood should be stored away from structures. Cigarettes should be completely extinguished and disposed of properly, not tossed out car windows.
Visit the National Fire Protection Association’s website,, for more tips and information to protect your family and property from a devastating wildfire.