The head of a Texas ranchers association is urging residents to leave Texas amid wildfires that have charred nearly 80,000 acres and killed at least six people.
In a letter published Tuesday by the Texas Observer, Texas Rancher’s Association president, David Cramer, said Texas has the highest wildfire death toll in the country and asked people to “please do not travel to Texas” unless they are certain they will not be harmed in the fires.
Cramer, whose group represents ranchers on the Chisago and Falfurrias ranchers, has been outspoken against the fire season and other federal regulations in Texas.
He said the fires were causing health issues, including pneumonia, and could lead to a surge in cases of COVID-19.
The outbreak has led to widespread travel restrictions across the state.
Cramer wrote that Texas has “an incredibly high number of people living in areas that are at risk” because of the wildfires.
He warned that a sudden rise in COVID deaths could cause a spike in new cases of the disease, and urged residents to “consider whether you will be at risk.”
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Cohn, the state’s top physician, has declared a state of emergency in all of Texas, where more than 4.5 million people have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
The state has been experiencing its highest fire season in a decade, and a number of counties have seen their fire seasons shorten.