Archer County considering applying for disaster declaration

Archer County considering applying for disaster declaration

ARCHER COUNTY, TX (KAUZ) - Texas Forest Service is reporting around 5,000 acres of Archer County has been burned after three days of fires that is why county commissioners are discussing whether or not to apply for a disaster declaration.

"Pretty scary situation on Sunday and luckily we got all the firefighters in the surrounding areas, communities," Archer County Judge Randall Jackson said.

He said he had to drive with his headlights on to see through the smoke.

Callie Berend, an Archer City resident, said it was "it was kind of like an orangey-grey then a very, very dark grey."

She noticed the smoke while watching a Texas Rangers baseball game with her husband and thought a house nearby was on fire. She said she took a peek outside.

"Just from me opening up the door, our house smelled like smoke for hours," Berend said. She described the ordeal similar to a disaster movie.

"It was very, very scary and I'm just thankful that all the volunteer firefighters were able to come together and put them out. We appreciate them so much," Berend said.

Judge Jackson said the quick response from area firefighters and Texas Forest Service has helped which is why he has not applied the disaster declaration yet. He said if he does and it is approved then it opens up more assets for the county to try to prevent a wildfire.

"Right now, we have the Texas Forest Service that is on standby but they're having to come by every time we have a new fire," Judge Jackson said. "That may change if we have a disaster declaration," Judge Jackson said.

A state disaster declaration allows the government to suspend any laws or regulations that would delay disaster response.

Judge Jackson said he spoke with other area county judges Tuesday afternoon to discuss the situation in Archer County and whether or not they should apply for a disaster declaration too.

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