Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Teams fighting big Texas wildfires have a key chance to control the fire on a quieter Monday with better weather

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Firefighters are rushing to control the biggest fire in Texas history. They might have a better chance now with cooler weather after a cold front on Monday. Hot air and strong winds have been causing massive fires, destroying neighborhoods, and hurting animals.

On Monday morning, the cold front arrived, bringing cooler conditions. The winds will calm down, and the weather will be better until Tuesday. This gives firefighters a break from the dangerous fire conditions that have been helping the fires spread in the Texas Panhandle.

In the Panhandle, five fires have burned about 500 homes and businesses, according to state officials. A new fire, the Roughneck Fire, started on Sunday in Hutchinson County, leading to evacuations as crews rushed to help.

First responders hoped that after the risky fire conditions over the weekend, things would improve in the coming days. However, the fires are thriving because of a lot of fuel on the ground, like grass that grew a lot due to more rain than usual this winter.

Here are some updates:

1. The Roughneck Fire started on Sunday and has covered about 300 acres in Hutchinson County. It prompted evacuations in the town of Sanford, which started to lift later in the evening. The fire is now 50% contained as of Monday afternoon.

2. Other fires are still burning, like the Windy Deuce Fire in Moore County, which has burned 144,000 acres and is 55% contained. The Grape Vine Creek Fire in Gray County has burned nearly 35,000 acres and is 60% contained. The Magenta Fire in Oldham County has destroyed 3,297 acres and is 85% contained.

3. There’s progress in containing the Oklahoma fire near the Texas border, with the Smokehouse Creek Fire being 75% contained by the end of the day.

4. A woman whose home was destroyed by the Smokehouse Creek Fire is suing Xcel Energy, its subsidiary, and a contractor, claiming that a fallen power pole started the fire.

5. At least two people have died in the fires: truck driver Cindy Owen and 83-year-old Joyce Blankenship.

6. The fires are causing a devastating loss for ranchers, with thousands of cattle killed and many others suffering painful burns.

7. You can help by supporting verified fundraisers on GoFundMe and charities identified by CNN’s Impact Your World.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott says the wildfires have caused unprecedented destruction, with many homes completely gone. The damage could increase as assessments continue.

Residents like Tyler McCain and the Johnson family have lost their homes and belongings. Despite the numbing loss, they are determined to rebuild and start anew.

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