The Edinburg Fire Department and US Fish and Wildlife are urging everyone to heed fire warnings this spring.
By weather and condition of the environment, this season is already turning out worse than last year where the month of March was emphasized by a raging wildfire that charred more than 26,000 acres in San Manuel. And the worst is yet to come, according to fire officials.
So far, the Edinburg Fire Department says it has responded to at least 400 fires for the year, from January to March. Edinburg FD says it has surpassed its average 100 to 125 fires a month.
Last week a fire in the Linn-San Manuel area burned 1,650 acres, possibly caused by a hot particle igniting dry grass, according to Hidalgo County. No injuries were reported.
“The thing I say is that everyone needs due diligence and making sure that any open fire, whether it’s a camp fire or barbecue or burning trash that it’s done with responsibility,” said Edinburg fire chief Shawn Snider. “Keep in mind that anything that can get out of hand can ultimately come back to be your responsibility,”
The Edinburg Fire Department, along with USFW and other emergency personnel held a press conference at the South Texas International Airport on Wednesday March 4. At the conference, fire officials emphasized a team effort stretching among five counties, including Zapata, to combat fires in increasingly populated but nonetheless rural areas.
USFW has counted at least three fires in one day so far. Wind driven fires move sporadically making them difficult to track, and leaving little time for strategy to combat a specific blaze.
“It’s been real bad, starting in January as we all know we didn’t get any rain, but got some cold fronts coming in to dry our vegetation and it has been really, really hard fighting these fires,” said Eliseo “Chito” Garcia, fire prevention arson investigator for USFW. “Summer is coming, there is no rain in the season coming up. We can go all the way through to September until the rainy season comes up. We are a long ways from September. Our worst months are yet to come.”