Publication Date February 29, 2024 | Climate Nexus Hot News

Wildfires Rage Across Texas

Texas Panhandle
Texas firefighters struggle to contain the wildfires as it continues to spread throughout the state. (Credit: Greenville Fire-Rescue via Storyful)
Intense wildfires have been burning across parts of the Texas panhandle. (Credit: Greenville Fire-Rescue via Storyful)

Wildfires blazing across the Texas panhandle have killed one person, burned more than 1 million acres, and forced thousands to evacuate this week. Strong winds, high temperatures, and dry conditions helped spread the fires after they began Monday, and Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday issued a disaster declaration for 60 counties in the area. The largest fire, the Smokehouse Creek Fire, had spread over 850,000 acres—bigger than the state of Rhode Island, and the second-largest fire in Texas history—along the Oklahoma border by Thursday morning; that fire is only 3% contained. West Texas and the panhandle, where the landscape is flat and filled with drier grasses, have a much higher risk than the rest of the state of experiencing a major wildfire over the next 50 years. “It looks alarming, how quickly it is spreading,” Erin O’Connor, a spokeswoman for the Forest Service, told the Times. The dry, dead grasses in the region are the “perfect environment to support the growth that we have seen,” she said. 


(New York Times $, USA TodayLubbock Avalanche-JournalWashington Post $, CNNCBSNBCABC 13Axios)


(Climate Signals background: Wildfires)

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