Statewide NewsAbbott Renews Disaster Drought Declaration for 189 Texas Counties

The declaration comes on the heels of a drought affecting most of the state’s land and contributing to several active wildfires.
July 27, 2022
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Citing “significantly low rainfall and prolonged dry conditions,” Governor Greg Abbott issued a drought disaster declaration for 164 of Texas’ 254 counties on July 8.

The proclamation states that these counties’ conditions “continue to increase the threat of wildfire across these portions of the state” and “pose an imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property.”

One week later on July 15, the governor renewed the declaration and amended it to include 25 additional counties, bringing the total number to 189.

“The declaration gives assurance to landowners that they will not be penalized for managing their agricultural lands during drought conditions,” explained the Texas Farm Bureau. “Farmers and ranchers who need to remove livestock or cannot harvest a crop because of the prolonged drought conditions can maintain agricultural valuation until conditions allow for normal production once again.”

“If a drought declaration has been issued, then the Texas Tax Code doesn’t require farmers and ranchers to meet the ‘degree of intensity’ to maintain agricultural valuation of the land,” Billy Howe, Texas Farm Bureau associate director of Government Affairs, said.

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On July 19, the Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS) wrote, “Ninety-nine percent of the state is experiencing some level of drought. The rainfall received last week was minimal and offered only a temporary reprieve from the dry conditions in some areas.”

Texas counties measured according to the Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI), estimated for July 27, 2022. Image courtesy of the Texas A&M Forest Service.

When the drought disaster declaration was first issued, the TSF posted on Twitter that 195 counties were under a burn ban, “the most the state has seen since November of 2011.” At the time of publication, that number has risen to 224.

The ongoing drought conditions have also made it easier for wildfires to spread. On March 18, Abbott issued a wildfire disaster declaration for 11 counties. That declaration has been renewed each month since March and amended to include more counties, now numbering 73.

According to TSF, there are nine active wildfires in Texas:

  • “Mustang Fire, Williamson County – 41.3 acres, 90% contained”
  • “Pumper Road Fire, Caldwell County – 15.5 acres, 85% contained”
  • “Pigmy Fire, Caldwell County – 14.1 acres, 95% contained”
  • “San Gabriel Fire, Williamson County – est. 500 acres, 75% contained”
  • “Cat Fire, Clay County – 72 acres, 90% contained”
  • “Sky Diver Fire, Caldwell County – 10 acres, 95% contained”
  • “River Bottom 2 Fire, Hood County – 275 acres, 95% contained”
  • “Chalk Mountain Fire, Somervell County – est. 6,746 acres, 20% contained”
  • “Honey Creek Fire, Uvalde County – 353 acres, 95% contained”

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Rob Laucius

Rob Laucius is the Assistant Editor of The Texan. A Texas native, he graduated summa cum laude from Hillsdale College in 2022 with a degree in History and has interned for the U.S. House of Representatives and Veterans Administration. In his free time, Rob enjoys reading and writing, watching movies, and long walks around his neighborhood.

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