As hundreds of thousands are expected to descend on a Texas county of 44,000 residents, located about 30 miles northwest of San Antonio, to get a view of the Oct. 14 annular eclipse, local first responders are getting ready for the crowds.
“We have been preparing for 18 months,” Kendall County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Fincke told San Antonio TV station KSAT on Friday. “We’ve looked at a lot of after-action reports from places where the 2017 eclipse went through. And we’ve taken those and tried to learn from them.”
The county is expecting between 800,000 to 1.5 million visitors to witness the moon blocking out the sun around 11 a.m. local time.
Fincke told the station that the main concern is the influx of traffic, especially in the already congested city of Boerne.
“That’s probably our first and foremost concern, is we’re keeping intersections and highways open so that emergency services can move freely and, again, not knowing how many people might show up,” he said. “Kendall County, Boerne is going to open a phone bank. Hopefully, people will call that versus 911 because that’s the other concern we have is 911 calls [inundating] our dispatch center because people are going to block driveways. They’re going to park in places that people don’t want them.”
According to NASA, the annular eclipse will cross North, Central, and South America, with visibility possible in parts of Mexico and the United States, including sections of Texas.
The U.S. path of the eclipse will track from southern Oregon through Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, and end in Texas.
Small sections of Colorado and Arizona will also catch a glimpse of the event where the moon will partially cover the sun, causing a slight darkening of the skies during the middle of the day, according to NASA.
The county will be on celestial display again during a total solar eclipse in April.
That event will take place April 8, 2024, and will also bring thousands of visitors to the region.
Fincke told the television station that local fire departments are advising people to keep their grass cut and maintain their lawns in the event a fire starts.
“We’re concerned about venues that haven’t cut their grass or maintained it, or some landowners decide, Hey, let’s open the gate, let people come in and view it,” Fincke said.
Charles Kim, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years in reporting on news and politics.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.