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National Weather Service to issue 'Red Flag' fire warning for Rio Grande Valley, Wednesday morning

1 month 8 hours 36 minutes ago Tuesday, March 16 2021 Mar 16, 2021 March 16, 2021 4:55 PM March 16, 2021 in News - Local

The National Weather Service in Brownsville plans to issue a 'Red Flag' fire warning for the Rio Grande Valley on Wednesday morning.

Hidalgo County

On Monday, a grass fire charred several acres of land near the city of Peñitas. More than 10 acres of land went up in flames near Liberty and Tom Gil Road. 

Forecasters and first responders are concerned more fires could start on Wednesday.

"Last week, we went into an exceptional drought— which is the worst category," KRGV Meteorologist Alan Shoemaker said. "Mainly Starr County, for the first time since 2013."

Mission Fire Marshal Francisco Cavazos said people looking to burn things like trash or leaves should not do so in open areas. 

"Hopefully, they can burn it in containers," Cavazos said. "A 50 gallon drum or something like that."

Firefighters recommend keeping large containers with water close by, in case flames start to spread.

Cameron County

On Tuesday the Cameron County Commissioners Court approved a 90 day burn ban.

Emergency management officials said dried up vegetation caused by the winter freeze along with low humidity, high winds and the ongoing drought, are prime conditions for a fire hazard. 

Anyone caught burning bush during the ban could be charged with a Class C misdemeanor and face up to $500 in fines. 

"We know that people have a lot of brush on their property and they want to burn that," Cameron County Fire Marshal Juan Martinez said. "But at this time it's not safe to do so. Right now what we're asking is just be patient. Wait the 90 days and after that we should be able to lift the burn ban and allow you to burn again."

The burn ban in Cameron County is in effect until June 14.

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