Valley risk remains 'very high' for wildfires

·2 min read

Jul. 24—HARLINGEN — Wildfires continue to flare in Texas and across much of the nation, and conditions in Cameron County will remain "very high" for fires through at least Tuesday, emergency officials say.

Today the fire forecast from the Texas A&M Forest Service shows coastal Cameron County with a "very high" risk of wildfires. Most of Willacy and Starr counties, and southern Hidalgo County, are listed as "high."

On Tuesday, the forecast shows coastal Cameron at "very high" and the rest of Cameron, most of Willacy, and the southern half of Hidalgo counties rated "high."

The fire dangers across Texas are being formed by a combination of extremely dry fuels, strong winds and 100-degree temperatures.

Although the Rio Grande Valley is rated at just "abnormally dry" in the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday, approximately one-third of Texas is in the highest category of "exceptional drought," and another third is in "extreme drought."

The last Texas wildfire report filed late Friday by the forest service showed firefighters had responded to 11 new wildfires that had burned over 1,000 acres.

One of those wildfires on Thursday was in Hidalgo County near Linn-San Manuel. The Laguna Seca Fire burned through 400 acres of mostly grassland before being contained.

Hidalgo County Fire Marshal Homero Garza said the fire near U.S. Highway 281 and Laguna Seca Road was caused by a wild turkey that was electrocuted when it landed on a power line and dropped to the ground.

On Saturday, Gov. Greg Abbott was briefed on the state's largest wildfire, the Chalk Mountain Fire, and issued a disaster declaration adding Somervell County to dozens of other Texas counties fighting wildfires.

The fire about 70 miles southwest of Dallas covered about 10 square miles and had destroyed at least 16 homes. Two people suffered minor injuries.

"The best news is that no lives have been lost, and so we commend the way the community has responded, the people who were perhaps in the area where the fire struck," Abbott said at a press conference at Glen Rose High School. "You can face a fire and see that your property may be lost, but the most important thing that you have is your life."