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Videos/Pics: 1 million acres destroyed in ‘catastrophic’ wildfire

Firefighters work to contain a wildfire. (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection/TNS)
March 02, 2024

The Smokehouse Creek fire in Hutchinson County, Texas, has become the largest wildfire in the state’s history, destroying over 1 million acres and resulting in the death of two individuals and thousands of livestock.

In an update regarding the historic wildfire on Friday, the Texas A&M Forest Service announced, “The #SmokehouseCreekFire in Hutchinson County is an estimated 1,078,086 acres and 15% contained. With conditions yesterday, there was no fire growth. Increase in acreage due to more accurate mapping and this is subject to change.”

According to CNN, while the Smokehouse Creek wildfire started on Monday, emergency crews have had limited success in working to contain the massive fire, resulting in the largest wildfire recorded in the state. CNN reported that the wildfire has also consumed at least 31,500 acres in Oklahoma.

The Smokehouse Creek wildfire is just one of three fires currently ravaging the Texas Panhandle, according to The Daily Wire. While weather conditions prevented the fire from growing on Thursday, The Daily Wire reported that weather conditions over the weekend are predicted to increase the size of the wildfire.

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On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) issued a disaster declaration for 60 counties in Texas in response to the state’s wildfires.

“Texans are urged to limit activities that could create sparks and take precautions to keep their loved ones safe,” Abbott said. “I also want to thank the brave firefighters and first responders who are working tirelessly to protect their fellow Texans.”

Videos and pictures posted on social media highlight the devastation caused by the ongoing wildfires.

According to WFAA, the historic Turkey Track is one of the many ranches devastated by the wildfires. The owners of the ranch have estimated that at least 80% of the ranch’s land has been destroyed.

“The loss of livestock, crops, and wildlife, as well as ranch fencing and other infrastructure throughout our property as well as other ranches and homes across the region is, we believe, unparalleled in our history,” the owners said.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller told The New York Times that the Texas Panhandle is the location of approximately 85% of the state’s cattle herds, with over 10 million livestock in the region.

“There are millions of cattle out there, with some towns comprising more cattle than people,” Miller told The Wall Street Journal. “The losses could be catastrophic for those counties. Farmers and ranchers are losing everything.”

A video shared on X, formerly Twitter, by CBS News shows a herd of cattle running away from a huge cloud of smoke caused by the wildfires.