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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Wildfires continue to burn through Texas Panhandle as one blaze grows to 500,000 acres

A wildfire in Hutchinson County grew to an estimated 500,000 acres as of Wednesday. Feb. 28. 2024    ( Texas A&M Forest Service/TNS)
By Lana Ferguson The Dallas Morning News The Dallas Morning News

Wildfires continued to burn Wednesday through portions of the Texas Panhandle as hot and dry conditions were expected to persist, and one of the largest fires grew to half a million acres.

Multiple evacuations were ordered and Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration Tuesday for 60 counties as emergency crews attempted to contain the fires. The declaration allowed for state resources to be deployed to areas fighting the fires.

One of the largest fires crews have been battling has been named the “Smokehouse Creek Fire” in Hutchinson County, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. The blaze began Monday.

As of 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, the fire was an estimated 500,000 acres and 0% contained, according to the service, meaning the fire about doubled in size in roughly 14 hours.

“Fire behavior has moderated with decreased winds, but it is still actively burning,” a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, said.

Evacuations had begun in towns including Canadian and Glazier.

The “Windy Deuce Fire” in Moore County, which was estimated to be 38,000 acres and 20% contained as of 10 p.m. Tuesday.

The was the second wildfire in the county in recent days, according to the service. Another fire which grew to about 4,000 acres was 100% contain.

This fire prompted evacuations of Double Diamond, Arrowhead Addition, Maverick Village, Alibates, McBride, Mullinaw and Harbor Bay as it shut down Texas State Highway 136 on both sides of towns.

The 30,000-acre “Grape Vine Creek Fire” in Gray County was estimated to be 60% contained as of 10:20 p.m. Tuesday. A voluntary evacuation order for in and around Pampa was lifted Tuesday night.