EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Hidalgo County Commissioners voted to declare a local state of disaster Tuesday after more than 800 acres were burned in four separate wildfires. With more dry and windy weather conditions expected for the valley, Hidalgo County Commissioners said this now poses a threat.
“There have been homes that have been on fire, vehicles on fire, amongst everything else so it has been a pretty dramatic past couple of weeks,” said Chief Shawn Snider of the Edinburg Fire Department.
EFD is just one of many local fire departments in Hidalgo County responding to wildfires. But Chief Snider tells ValleyCentral it’s not just fire departments in the valley that are helping fight the blaze.
“There are teams that are available from areas that are not really affected by the dry conditions so much and that is usually the East Texas area,” Snider said. “They are helping out with responding task forces for the Rio Grande Valley.”
The local state of emergency declaration will go into effect immediately and will have more funding go towards 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 where in our costs for the response to include the local fire department and any county equipment that is utilized for extinguishing these fires,” said Coordinator Ricardo Saldana. “Plus, we will be added on to the state declaration hoping to get a federal declaration for all these wildfires that are 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 has already seen much damage.
“Some of these properties we have to go through that literally our trucks are being damaged our tire are being popped drive chains are being messed up,” Snider said.
Hidalgo County Commissioners also voted to enforce a burn ban that will go into effect starting April 6. The ban will last for the next 90 days.