HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — A few wildland fires and an expected dry winter have some officials in southeastern New Mexico worried about winter grass fires.

The Hobbs News-Suns reports Lea County Deputy Fire Marshal Jeff Broom said this week wildland fires burned a little more than 5,400 acres this year so far in the region. Last year, the area saw 12,986 acres burned.

The lack of grass fires has allowed the area to see more fuel for potential winter prairie blazes amid dry conditions.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last month forecast a warmer winter from California through the Midwest to Maine.

The big driver in the forecast is a La Nina weather event that is likely to develop next month.

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Information from: Hobbs News-Sun, http://www.hobbsnews.com