Monday, April 15, 2024

Strong winds and lack of rain might make the largest wildfire in Texas even more dangerous

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In Texas, a big fire is causing a lot of trouble. It already killed two people, destroyed many buildings, and hurt a bunch of cattle. This fire is now the largest one in Texas ever. The weather is making things worse.

Around 8 million people in the Central Plains got warnings about the fire danger. The weather is hotter than usual in the Texas Panhandle. The Storm Prediction Center says a big area, from western Texas to southeastern South Dakota, is at risk. This includes about 4.5 million people, like those in Denver, Colorado Springs, Lubbock, and Amarillo.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire has spread over 1 million acres, making it the biggest wildfire in Texas history.

This weekend, the wind is going to blow really hard, up to 55 mph on Saturday and Sunday. The worst fire conditions will be on Sunday in the Texas Panhandle and western Texas. About 2 million people, including those in Lubbock, Amarillo, Midland, and Odessa, are in danger.

Here are the latest updates:
– Four more fires are burning, with one covering 142,000 acres in Moore County.
– Two people have died in the fires.
– The fire is destroying the cattle industry in the Panhandle, killing thousands of cattle and ruining other things like crops and equipment.
– State officials are trying to figure out how the big fire started.
– There’s a big risk of more fires during the weekend because of the weather.
– People are being careful with fireworks as they celebrate Independence Day in Texas.
– The Texas A&M Forest Service is collecting money to help those affected by the fires.

The situation is really bad, with Governor Greg Abbott saying that around 500 buildings have already been destroyed. The damage is worse than anything he has seen before.

“Often, when you look at the mess left behind, there’s still some kind of structure. But this time, it’s different. Everything is just gone. No buildings left, only ashes on the ground. People who went through this are dealing with complete devastation.”

The speaker mentioned losing around 400 to 500 structures, but they can’t be sure if that’s the final count yet. They’re still checking.

Apart from houses and businesses, the fires wrecked more than 100 miles of power lines.

The situation is bad for cattle farmers in Texas. Most of the state’s cows are in the panhandle, and over 85% of them are affected. Videos show herds of cows running away from the fire.

A farmer named Shane Pennington, near Canadian, felt really upset seeing his farm of 20 years in danger. He cared more about his cows than his house, but sadly, there was nowhere safe to take them. Some cows he raised himself died, and the ones that survived have burns and may get sick. Some had to be put down already.

Shane mentioned it’s not just emotionally tough; it will take years for the business to bounce back from the fire damage. Seven grain and seed dealers lost everything too. The state has no grass or water for the livestock, and more than 3,000 cows have died, with more expected. Some will need to be euthanized because of their injuries.

“It’s a hard job to keep them alive, not to lose them. But now, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

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