Second-largest wildfire in Texas

Texas wildfire has occurred in the region northeast of Amarillo and has blackened 850,000 acres of grasslands and timbers since Monday. This fire then spread eastward across the border of Oklahoma, as per the reports released by the Texas A&M Forest Service.

In this wildfire, a woman in Hutchinson County of age 83 years had died in the blaze, dubbed the Smokehouse Creek fire. By Wednesday night, the firefighters had somehow managed to carve containment lines around just 3% of the blaze. Several smaller wildfires were burning other parts of the state’s northern Panhandle, stoked by fierce winds and hot, dry conditions.

The area scorched by the Smokehouse Creek Fire exceeded the land mass of the state of Rhode Island, making it nearly as immense as the largest wildfire on record in Texas, the East Amarillo Complex Fire that burned 907,000 acres in 2006.

This fire also plundered the 50-year-old home of Richard Murray from Texas, situated in the small Texas Panhandle town of Canada, into ashes. They were informed about the state’s second-largest wildfire reaching their home through a sheriff’s deputy. But when he returned home, there was nothing left.

Murray said he and his wife will stay with friends for now and have already received dozens of calls from people offering help. On Wednesday morning, they were searching for their dogs and two cats. Terrill Bartlett, Canada’s mayor, said the town was “blessed” that there had been no reports of serious injuries or fatalities, but it was devastating for residents who had lost homes.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Forest Service are helping Texas, and federal authorities are in close touch with officials “on the front lines of these fires,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at a news briefing on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 60 counties and directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to activate more than 95 firefighters as well as personnel to close roads, control traffic, offer medical aid, and provide livestock support.

More than 13,000 Texas homes and businesses were without power as of Wednesday morning, with more than 4,000 of those in the Panhandle region alone, according to data from
Castillo, who works as a secretary for the Canadian Methodist Church, drove to the town’s high school, where she and about 100 other families “sat and prayed and cried and tried to comfort each other” in the parking lot.
Castillo returned home later Tuesday night and discovered her home had survived. She sheltered in place and opened her church on Wednesday for anyone needing a place to stay or pray.

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