TX Wildfire Now Second-Largest in State History

Flower Mound firefighters
Flower Mound firefighters were deployed to assist in containing the Smokehouse Creek Fire in Hutchinson County | Image by Flower Mound Fire Department/Facebook

Texas firefighters are working to contain the second-largest wildfire in the state’s history.

Firefighters from the Flower Mound Fire Department were deployed to aid other fire personnel in containing the record-breaking Smokehouse Creek Fire in Hutchinson County. This Fire has already consumed 850,000 acres as of February 28, per the Texas A&M Forest Service.

The National Weather Service in Amarillo reported multiple active wildfires in several panhandle counties on February 27, with some having taken out tens of thousands of acres by that afternoon.

Gov. Greg Abbott later issued a disaster declaration, mobilizing emergency management resources after multiple mandatory evacuation notices for affected areas had been posted, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Firefighters also ordered the evacuation of the Pantex nuclear weapons facility in Carson County, causing the plant to suspend operations temporarily. The facility stated in a social media post shortly before 10 p.m. on February 27 that all personnel were accounted for and that all non-essential personnel had left the premises.

The plant, where nuclear weapons are assembled and disassembled, currently holds about 20,000 plutonium cores and is producing new weapons, such as the B61-12 bomb and W88 Alt370 warhead, according to RawsAlerts.

The fires bypassed the Pantex facility by the morning of February 28, and workers resumed operations at the plant, according to The Independent.

Portions of The Smokehouse Creek Fire, the largest of the blazes northeast of Amarillo, have reportedly extended into parts of Oklahoma, according to CBS News. Texas A&M Forest Service reports that the fire is just 3% contained as of February 28.

The Flower Mound Fire Department announced that three members of their Wildland Team and a State brush truck were assisting in the containment of the Smokehouse Creek Fire overnight on February 26.

Photos posted by the department reveal the orange hue of the smoke-filled skies around the fire and the sun, tinged a deep red. Several citizens and panhandle locals commented on the post, thanking the firefighters for coming to help with some praying for their safety.

The second-largest fire currently burning, the Windy Deuce Fire in Moore County, consumed an estimated 90,000 acres and is at 25% containment, while the Grape Vine Creek Fire in Gray County consumed 30,000 acres and had reached 60% containment as of February 27.

The Texas A&M Forest Service said that Tuesday, “strong fire weather [would] align with above normal fuel loading on the High Plains, resulting in moderate to high fire potential for wildfires,” but the “fire environment [would] relax beginning Wednesday through Friday.”

“The potential for wildfire activity will increase for the Plains on Saturday and more so on Sunday when strong winds are possible across West Texas,” the update continued.

Efforts to contain the fire are ongoing as Gov. Abbott announced on Wednesday that he has directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management to deploy additional resources to manage the blazes.

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