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      Ranchers in Hidalgo County use firebreaks as line of defense against grassfires

      Over the years, Carlos Guerra Jr. has watched his family TMs land go up in flames. In the last two or three years of fires that we TMve had about two or three thousand acres have burned,

      Guerra told Action 4 News.

      It all adds up.

      And in trying times, like these, Guerra said that is acreage he cannot afford to lose.

      There TMs not a whole lot of grass for the cattle and when it burns up from grassfires that takes all of the feed away from the cattle, Guerra said.

      I mean you can TMt even find hay these days and when you can it TMs low quality stuff.

      In an effort to protect his land and cattle from these massive grassfires that spark up around the county"Guerra built fire breaks around his property.

      We TMve become more proactive making sure that we get down to the dirt, Guerra explained.

      Sometimes making two or three passes to make sure it TMs solid dirt. We went three wide at our neighbors over there and put in a 20 foot firebreak on the other side there.

      But fire breaks are not always guaranteed. Linn/San Manuel Fire Chief Mingo Hinojosa told Action 4 News, on a windy day, that fire could easily jump those breaks. He said that was what happened back in 2008"when over 64-thousand acres burned in Brooks and Hidalgo Counties.

      That fire jumped clear across 281, Hinojosa said.

      It doesn TMt matter how large the fire breaks are"it matters how much wind we have to drive that fire.

      Even though a firebreak is not a guaranteed way to keep a fire out"Hinojosa said it is the only line of defense for these ranchers.