Second Largest Fire in State History Ravages Texas, Engulfs 850,000 Acres

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Second Largest Fire in State History Ravages Texas, Engulfs 850,000 Acres

An enormous fire broke out in the Texas Panhandle on Monday, engulfing over 850,000 acres, becoming the second-largest fire in state history.

One person is known to have died in the Smokehouse Creek Fire, which has destroyed homes and killed livestock across ranch lands.

Governor Greg Abbott deployed the Texas Division of Emergency Management (DEM) and additional state emergency responses to support efforts.

Abbot said:

“As dangerous wildfires continue to impact the Texas Panhandle, I directed DEM to immediately deploy additional wildfire response resources to ensure the safety of Texans and impacted communities.”

“Thank you to our federal partners at FEMA for quickly approving Texas’ request for grant assistance as we continue to fight these dangerous wildfires.”

“I encourage Texans in affected areas to heed the guidance of local officials and first responders and to take all necessary precautions to keep your family and loved ones safe.”

“We continue to work alongside TDEM, local officials, and emergency response personnel to provide all available resources to protect our fellow Texans.”

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) request for the fires, meaning the state will be eligible to be reimbursed by the federal government for up to 75% of the costs.

“According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, high volume of dry, freeze cured grasses will continue to support fire spread today,” Abbott added.

“As we approach the weekend, the fire environment will trend warmer and drier, resulting in the potential for additional wildfire activity across the Texas Panhandle this weekend.”

“Portions of South Texas continue to face increased wildfire risk, as well as East Texas, amid active burns.”

“Additionally, the Texas A&M Forest Service raised the Wildland Fire Preparedness Level to Level 3 today due to an increase in current and expected wildfire activity over the next several days.”

Watch

The Texas Tribune reported:

Residents from Canadian, a small town of about 2,300 people that was ravaged by the largest fire of the bunch, were allowed to return to their homes Wednesday. The fire burned through approximately 40 homes in Hemphill County, according to the latest estimates by Emergency Management Coordinator Bill Kendall. Kendall said the agency is continuing to gather the complete extent of the damage.

“We’re just trying to figure out what the needs are right now,” Kendall said. “But we don’t know exactly what’s needed. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

An additional three firetrucks arrived today from Amarillo to support the county’s effort to suppress the fires, Kendall said.

Officials in Hemphill County will begin assessing “the totality of the damage” and contacting the individuals whose property was damaged or lost to the fires, County Judge Lisa Johnson said in a statement. City services would resume today, the statement said.

READ: Massive Fire Breaks Out at Texas Chicken Farm

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