EDINBURGH, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Hidalgo County commissioners voted Tuesday to declare a local state of disaster after more than 800 acres were scorched in four separate wildfires. With drier and windier weather expected for the Valley, Hidalgo County Commissioners said this now poses a threat.
“There have been houses that have been on fire, vehicles on fire and so on, so the last few weeks have been quite dramatic,” said Chief Shawn Snider of the Edinburgh Fire Service.
EFD is just one of many local fire departments in Hidalgo County responding to wildfires. But Chief Snider tells ValleyCentral it’s not just Valley firefighters helping to fight the blaze.
“There are teams that are available in areas that aren’t really affected by dry conditions and that’s usually the east Texas area,” Snider said. “They are helping with the response task forces for the Rio Grande Valley.”
The declaration of a local state of emergency will take effect immediately and more funds will flow to local fire departments. Hidalgo County Emergency Management tells ValleyCentral that the county will get more resources to fight future fires.
“This will allow us to continue to include the local fire department and any county equipment used to put out these fires in our response costs,” said coordinator Ricardo Saldana. “Additionally, we will be added to state reporting in hopes of obtaining federal reporting for all of these wildfires occurring in the state of Texas.”
The new funds will also help fire departments repair equipment that has been damaged. Chief Snider said his department had already taken a lot of damage.
“Some of these properties that we have to go through literally cause our trucks to get damaged, our tires to burst, the drive chains to mess up,” Snider said.
Hidalgo County commissioners also voted to enforce a burning ban that will take effect from April 6. The ban will last for the next 90 days.