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Hidalgo Co. Man Loses Nearly 200 Acres of Land Due to Fire

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MERCEDES – A large grass fire sparked in Mercedes charred acres of a Hidalgo County man’s property.

The fire broke out Thursday afternoon on the westbound side of the expressway near Texas Avenue and ignited other fires hundreds of feet away.

Teo Martinez, also known as the Hidalgo County’s Cowboy, said the fire caused a big loss.

He said over 200 acres of his property is completely destroyed by multiple grass fires throughout the city of Mercedes.

“Right now, it’s not raining and we have round bales of hay that we use. Right now, we lost no less than 150 round bales,” he said.

The burnt bales caused Martinez more than $8,000, and that’s not taking into account damage to the land.

Martinez said with little rain, the forecast and hot days ahead, it’ll be awhile before the grass grows back.

“They take a long time to grow up again and the round bales we lost, we lost. We cannot make back again,” he said.

Mercedes Emergency Management Coordinator George Garrett believes the fire started from a burning cigarette. He said the official causes still remained undetermined.

He said people need to be cautious.

“What we recommend is number one, if you’re driving on the expressway, don’t be throwing cigarettes or anything that’s flammable out the windows as you drive,” Garrett said.

Martinez said he’ll assess the full extent of the damage and try to make do with what’s left behind.

No one was hurt during the fires.

Garrett said the fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire. 

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