RIO HONDO – High winds caused a small wildfire in Rio Hondo Sunday morning to spread quickly across dry brush and grass.

The fire broke out near the intersection of FM 106 and State Highway 345, next door to the Stripes convenience store.

The north winds pushed the heavy smoke across the road making visibility difficult for a short time and surrounded the parking lot and gas pumps around the store.

The National Weather Service in Brownsville issued a fire weather watch for Sunday based on anticipated high winds and very low humidity.

The watch is in effect for Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo, Zapata, Jim Hogg, Brooks, Kenedy and Starr counties.

The combination of wind and dry conditions will create a scenario favorable for “erratic to extreme wildfire growth and spread,” the weather service said.

Officials warn residents of the watch area that any outdoor fires will likely spread rapidly and that outdoor burning is not recommended.

Burn bans already are in place in Zapata, Starr, Jim Hogg and Kleberg counties.

Valley Morning Star reporter Rick Kelley contributed to this report.