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Commissioner Walt Smith calls for disaster declaration

Staff Report

HAYS COUNTY — Hays County Pct. 4 Commissioner Walt Smith has called on County Judge Ruben Becerra to issue a disaster declaration for drought and wildfire.

Per the press release, Smith said that the county and state is suffering through one of the “most brutally hot summers on record,” and with this heat comes a rash of fires that have beset Hays County, taxing the resources of emergency service districts, citizens and partner municipalities.

Storage for displaced animals, the depletion of manpower and supplies to first responders and the demands on the county and partnering agencies and municipalities have quickly depleted the ability to respond and stretch resources to their fullest, Smith said.

Firefighters from various counties and entities are currently fighting the Hermosa Fire in Wimberley, which has set nearly 100 acres ablaze and is not yet contained. Some evacuations have also been ordered. This is just one fire of many in the area in recent weeks.

“The current Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) used to determine drought conditions measures Hays County at a score of 734 with us considered to be in Extreme Drought Conditions,” Smith wrote. “With sustained and continuing weather in the high 90s to over 100 degrees, there is little hope at this point of the extended rains needed to easy our current situation.”

Smith said that declaring a county-wide state of emergency for drought and wildfire would allow partners to apply for, and hopefully receive, additional funding, aide and resources from governmental entities outside the county for which they otherwise may not qualify.

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