A total of 50 acres of land burned Sunday afternoon during a large grass fire near South Johnson and Esperanza Street.

A thick black cloud of smoke could be seen in the sky near the Jim Wells County Fairgrounds. Alice FD had some difficulty getting to the fire. Fire Chief Dean Van Vest recommend the business Highway 281 be shut down due to visibility issues for motorists.

Firefighters from 11 local agencies such as Ben Bolt, San Diego and Orange Grove, assisted Alice Fire Department in extinguishing the flames that grew ever so close to homes and businesses in the area.

“We did get initial reports of power lines that were arching , but we cannot confirm that as a cause (of the fire) at this time,” said Alice Fire Marshal Patrick Thomas. “We have had three structures destroyed. None were homes.”

At one point the fire reached the back yard of a mechanic shop on South Johnson Street prompting an evacuation of all flammable materials as well as vehicles and people inside the shop. Alice police officers also walked door-to-door to evacuate residents on south side of Esperanza Street.

According to Fire Marshal Patrick Thomas, the agencies attempted to combat the uncontrolled fire and had a plan in place. However, due to the humidity and winds Thomas was unsure if the plan would work in their favor.

According to the National Weather Service, sustained winds of more than 30 miles per hour (mph) were being reported, as well as strong gusts of more than 50 mph.

At approximately 8 p.m., the fire was 80 percent contained and a fire break was created to protect area structures.

Residents were allowed to return to their homes. No injuries to residents or firemen were reported. Firefighters would continue to motor the area for hot spots.