Sunday, April 14, 2024

Teams fighting big Texas wildfires have a good chance to control the fire because cooler air and lighter winds are expected on Monday

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Firefighters are rushing to control the biggest fire in Texas history. They might have a better chance soon because a cold front is coming on Monday. This front will bring cooler weather and calmer winds, giving firefighters a break from the dangerous conditions that have made the wildfires spread quickly.

The fires have already destroyed around 500 homes and businesses in the Panhandle. A new fire, called the Roughneck Fire, started on Sunday in Hutchinson County, leading to evacuations.

Despite the hope for better conditions, the fires are thriving due to a lot of fuel on the ground, like grass that grew after a wet winter. High winds, low humidity, and abundant fuel create the perfect conditions for fast-spreading wildfires.

Recent Updates:

1. **New Fire Forces Evacuations:**
– The Roughneck Fire started on Sunday and has spread across 300 acres in Hutchinson County, originating from where the Smokehouse Creek Fire began. The town of Sanford had to evacuate, but officials later lifted the order. The Texas A&M Forest Service reported that the fire’s advance has been stopped.

2. **Ongoing Fires:**
– The Windy Deuce Fire in Moore County has burned 144,000 acres and is 55% contained as of Sunday night, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. The Grape Vine Creek Fire in Gray County has affected nearly 35,000 acres and is 60% contained. Meanwhile, the Magenta Fire in Oldham County has damaged 3,297 acres and is 85% contained.

3. **Success in Containing Oklahoma Fire:**
– The Smokehouse Creek Fire in Oklahoma is under control, with positive progress. Keith Merckx from Oklahoma Forestry Services stated on Sunday that the fire’s perimeter is stable, and local departments will take over. By the end of the shift, it’s expected to be 75% contained. This fire has affected over 31,500 acres near the Texas border.

Truck driver Cindy Owen and an 83-year-old woman named Joyce Blankenship lost their lives in the Texas wildfires. Cindy tried to escape but got badly burned, while Joyce couldn’t leave her house in time.

The fires also took a toll on cattle. Many died, and ranchers had to put down others with severe burns. This affects the nation’s beef supply since 28% comes from the Texas Panhandle.

If you want to help, GoFundMe has verified fundraisers for Texans affected by the wildfires. The Texas Farm Bureau is assisting farmers, and CNN’s Impact Your World has listed charities supporting wildfire victims.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott described the devastation as worse than tornadoes or hurricanes. Homes and structures are completely gone, leaving only ashes on the ground. Around 400 to 500 structures are estimated to be destroyed, and the number may increase.

Families like Tyler McCain’s and Susan and Ronnie Johnson’s lost their homes and possessions. Despite the numbing loss, some hold onto memories and plan to rebuild and start anew.

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