SIMMS, Texas - Illegal dump sites can grow quickly and get out of hand before you know it.
That’s why an environmental team in Bowie County is working to clean up those sites, and hold people who litter accountable.
There are more than 20,000 tires on an abandoned property is Simms, Texas.
Officials have not been able to locate the owner.
The Bowie County Environmental Office recently received about $16,000 from the Ark-Tex Council of Governments for tire clean up.
Nearly half of those funds are being used on the Simms property.
"It started out with tires, but since we've started looking at this site, there's been trash and couches and all sorts of stuff dumped out here," explained Scottie Taylor, Bowie County Deputy Fire Marshal.
Taylor says the old tires are a serious fire and environmental hazard.
The county hired Bar Recycling in New Boston to pick up about 2,000 tires weighing more than 100 tons.
Officials say the Simms property has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other vermin.
"This is a priority site due to fire, due it's grown up and mosquitoes and complaints and rats," said Taylor.
The total cost of clean-up is about $150,000.
Taylor says whenever funding is secured, they begin removing as many tires as possible.
Some of the grant funds are used in other areas of the county.
So far this year, they've recycled more than 232,000 pounds of tires.
Officials say they've also used grant funding to purchase surveillance cameras to catch those who illegally dump along roadways and area creeks.
If someone is caught dumping more than 200 pounds of litter its considered a felony.
They could get up to $10,000 in fines or 2 years in prison.