Blaze grows to 500k acres, leading to power outages, evacuations across the map

Video shows cattle running from Texas wildfires

Wildfires and massive clouds of smoke are spreading across northern Texas as strong winds, dry grass and unseasonably warm temperatures fuel the flames.

Texas blazes are not the only cause for climate concern: Amazon wildfires generate record emissions

It’s not just the wildfires in the U.S. that are cause for concern.

A new report from the Copernicus Climate Change Service, the European Union’s climate agency, found that wildfires in Brazil, Venezuela and Bolivia in February have produced the highest carbon emissions for the month since at least 2003.

The climate agency said there was a significant increase in the number of wildfires across the tropical parts of South America in the second half of February. The intensity of the fires and their estimated emissions also jumped in the latter part of the month, according to Copernicus researchers.

The tropical parts of the continent, including northern Venezuela and northern Brazil, are approaching peak wildfire activity for the year. But for other parts of the South America, including Bolivia and the Amazon region as a whole, peak wildfire season typically occurs in September and October, according to Copernicus.

Texas wildfires leave more than 10,000 homes and businesses without power

Wildfires have left 10,301 customers in the dark as of this morning, according to the energy-tracking website Earlier, the number of homes and businesses without power was 4,254.

A majority of the outages — almost 4,000 — are in Hutchinson County.

As wildfires burn through Texas, severe storms may hit the Midwest

As the Texas wildfires burn through 500,000 acres of land, the Midwest is preparing to face a cold front and severe storms. NBC News’ Angie Lassman reports on the latest extreme weather in the United States and what to expect in the next few days.

Smokehouse Creek is now the second-largest wildfire in state history

The Smokehouse Creek Fire is now the second-largest wildfire in state history, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service, which said the fire has grown to an estimated 500,000 acres.

Thirty of the largest wildfires occurred in the state between 1988 and 2022, with the largest being the East Amarillo Complex at 907,245 acres in 2006.

The Big Country Fire in 1988, now the third largest, burned 366,000 acres, followed by Perryton in 2017 at 318,156 acres, and Rockhouse Fire at 314,444 acres.

Smokehouse Creek Fire grows to an estimated 500,000 acres

The Smokehouse Creek Fire in Hutchinson County has grown to an estimated 500,000 acres and is zero percent contained, the Texas A&M Forest Service said in a post on X.

The service said that the fire’s “behavior has moderated with decreased winds” but warned that it is still actively burning.

Agriculture chief warns of wildfires’ impact on farming

Texas farmers and ranchers are facing the “destruction” of their livelihoods as a result of wildfires that have continued to rage through the panhandle this week into today, the state’s agriculture commissioner said.

“These fires not only threaten lives and property but also have a significant impact on our agriculture industry,” Sid Miller said in a statement posted on Facebook last night.

“We stand in solidarity with our farmers and ranchers facing loss and destruction. Our thoughts are with them during this challenging time, and we’re committed to supporting their recovery efforts every step of the way,” he added.

State of disaster declared in Amarillo and surrounding counties

The city of Amarillo and its two local counties, Randall and Potter, declared a local state of disaster overnight, the city’s office of emergency management said in a post on Facebook late last night.

The message stressed that the only area being evacuated was the Mesilla Park neighborhood. “The state of disaster simply notifies the state that our region requires assistance and/or additional resources for areas impacted,” it added.

Texas fire burning near nuclear weapons plant forces evacuations

Wildfires are raging in the South with conditions so bad in Texas that a nuclear weapons plant was partially evacuated. Meanwhile, flights at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport were grounded and passengers were forced to shelter in place after tornado reports. NBC’s Adrienne Broaddus reports and the “TODAY” show’s Al Roker tracks the latest forecast.

Nuclear weapons facility to reopen today

The Pantex nuclear weapons site in Amarillo said it would reopen today after it closed and evacuated its staff last night.

On Facebook, the plant said that its staff should turn up for shifts as normal and confirmed that there was no fire within the plant site. There is an uncontained fire north of the facility, the update said.

Cattle pictured running away from raging wildfires

Cattle running through smoke from fires in Stinnett, Texas, on Monday.
Cattle running through smoke from fires in Stinnett, Texas, on Monday.Katlyn Butler

Video shows Texas firefighters driving along highway surrounded by wildfires

Video showed firefighters from the Greenville Fire Department driving through wildfires raging across a highway in the Texas Panhandle.

More than 4,000 homes and businesses without power across Texas

Wildfires have left 4,254 energy customers without power as of this morning, according to the energy-tracking website

This includes almost 2,000 customers in Hutchinson County, where the Smokehouse Fire has already covered more than 300,000 acres.

‘Tragedy and miracles’ in wildfire evacuations

A sheriff’s office working to evacuate people from fire-threatened homes in a neighboring county said the “Panhandle needs prayers,” as fires continued to spread.

The Moore County Sheriff’s Office has been dealing with calls related to a 40,000-acre fire at Windy Deuce in Moore County, which is 20% contained, and is assisting deputies from Hutchinson County, where the huge Smokehouse Creek Fire has already covered 300,000 acres.

“We have seen tragedy today and we have seen miracles. Today was a historic event we hope never happens again,” the office said in a Facebook post.  

At least 5 wildfires are raging through the Texas Panhandle

Firefighters were battling at least five wildfires in the Texas Panhandle, which have already burned through almost 400,000 acres, according to the Texas A&M Forest Incident Viewer.

Texas Panhandle Wildfires

The biggest, at Smokehouse Creek in Hutchinson County, has grown to 300,000 acres, more than 450 square miles, and is zero percent contained. According to A&M data, it is the fifth-biggest wildfire in Texas history.

At least four fires, including one near Amarillo, have now been contained.

Evacuations ordered across the panhandle

Authorities in several locations across northern Texas have told people to leave their homes as uncontrolled fires continue to spread.

The National Weather Service in Amarillo said last night that a mandatory evacuation order was in place for the Mesilla Park area of Potter County.

The Moore County Sheriff’s Office said Double Diamond, an area west of the city of Fritch, was subject to an emergency evacuation alert.

“Due to an the approaching fire it’s imperative to evacuate the area for your safety and well-being,” the office said in a statement. A shelter has been opened at Celebration Family Church, 811 E, Broadway, Fritch.

The Hemphill County Hospital District said it had moved all patients and residents from its hospital and nursing homes in the city of Canadian, to facilities in Pampa to the southwest.

Massive wildfire burns through Texas Panhandle

Evacuations have been ordered and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 60 counties as wildfires burn in parts of the panhandle.

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