News Roundup: A Fire Is Burning Across Hundreds Of Acres In Big Bend National Park

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Kristen CabreraMay 24, 2019 1:27 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

A fire that originated in Mexico jumped the Rio Grande Wednesday morning and is burning in Big Bend National Park. According to park officials, the fire has spread across hundreds of acres and is not yet fully contained.

Marfa Public Radio’s Carlos Morales has more.

As a plume of smoke from the fire in Mexico hung over the Rio Grande, embers spread to vegetation in Big Bend National Park and began to burn. They also reached historic adobe structures, some nearly 100 years old.

“Very quickly a couple of those buildings became engulfed and it was a very difficult battle for the firefighters on scene. Unfortunately we lost La Harmonia store which was built in 1916,” said Tom Vandenberg of the National Park.

He says the Castolon Visitor Center was also damaged, including nearby bathrooms. No injuries have been reported. The fire has since moved away from the historic district and is now burning through mesquite thickets along the Rio Grande. Fire crews from the park, as well as responders from Terlingua, Fort Stockton and the international Los Diablos, are working to contain the fire.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported a record number of single-day apprehensions in the Del Rio sector this week. Texas Public Radio’s Lauren Terrazas reports.

CBP agents arrested nearly 400 people Monday [May 20]. It’s the busiest day in the sector in more than 10 years.

Over 29,000 arrests have been reported in the Del Rio sector since the start of this fiscal year. Migrant family units and unaccompanied children accounted for over 16,500 apprehensions.

Randy Davis is the Del Rio Sector acting chief patrol agent. He said in a statement the rise in apprehensions have put an enormous strain on their resources. He added South Texas facilities are not designed to house populations on this scale for any length of time.

Officials say family unit and unaccompanied children apprehensions have increased over 750 percent compared to the same time period last fiscal year.

A bill heading to the governor’s desk gives school districts the power to decide how many armed marshals they’ll need for their campuses. The measure approved by the Senate on Wednesday effectively eliminates the current cap of one marshal per 200 students or one per building. The school marshals program arms teachers and other school personnel on a volunteer basis and requires 80 hours of training.