The Rest of Dallas County Will Get Its Aerial Coating of Poison Tonight at 9
Last night it most of the north and east parts of Dallas and the Park Cities; tonight it's everywhere else. County Judge Clay Jenkins and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings held a press conference at the Dallas County Administration building this afternoon to lay out their plans to murder every single mosquito across 101,000 acres.
Jenkins explained that last night's spraying, meant to cover some 52,000 acres, was interrupted around midnight by rain. "I'd ask all your viewers to pray for good weather," he told the assembled T.V. crews, so that the four pesticide-bearing planes can finish up those areas tonight and move on to the rest of the county.
The cities to be sprayed tonight include Coppell, Carrollton, Addison, Farmers Branch, Richardson, Garland, Mesquite and Grand Prairie, including the portions of GP that belong to Ellis and Tarrant Counties. Mesquite has requested that only the areas north of I-30 be sprayed, Jenkins said. The remaining cities in the southern portion of Dallas County have until 2 p.m. on Tuesday to let the state know if they'd like to be sprayed aerially or using trucks.
If the spraying tonight is completed on schedule, Rawlings said the plan is to cease spraying for two days to judge the effectiveness of the first round and to let any remaining mosquito larvae hatch. Monday and Tuesday would be reserved for a "second swath" of spray, he said. Inclement weather could push tonight's spraying into Saturday. Traps will be laid out over the weekend to try to gauge how many mosquitoes were killed.
Jenkins said there "no admissions related to West Nile" were reported at any area hospitals last night, nor were there any statistical spikes in asthma attacks as some had feared would be the result of the spraying.
"We don't expect to hear any reports," Jenkins added. Other cities throughout the country "had had this sprayed on them for years," he said. "Why would our cities be any different than any others who have experienced this?" The spray poses an "incredible risk to West Nile-bearing mosquitoes," he said. "But it is not an unreasonable risk to you or your family."
Yesterday, WFAA reported that an injunction had been filed in an attempt to stop the spray (although we can no longer find that story on their website). Jenkins said today that although his office had received a letter from a law firm indicating an intent to file suit, the state of emergency he declared last week "trumps legal maneuvers" to stop the spray.
"They can file their suit, but it won't stop our spraying," he said.
Jenkins said too that he "shook the hands of all the people loading the chemicals" onto the planes before they departed.
"Watching the plane take off, I knew our citizens would be safer the next day."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.