United States

Wildfires Ravage Texas And Oklahoma, Prompting Evacuations

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 60 countries following the blaze crisis.

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AP
Wildfires prompting evacuation Texas. Photo: AP
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Wildfires surged through Texas and Oklahoma early Wednesday, prompting evacuations and forcing the closure of a facility that disassembles nuclear weapons.

In response to the escalating crisis, Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared a disaster for 60 counties on Tuesday, mobilizing state resources to assist local firefighters and urging residents to avoid activities that could spark additional blazes.

The largest inferno, the Smokehouse Creek fire, ravaged the Texas Panhandle, scorching over 300,000 acres since igniting on Monday. Fueled by fierce winds and parched conditions, the fire remained unchecked as of early Wednesday.

"High temperatures and windy conditions are expected to continue, increasing the potential for these wildfires to grow larger and more dangerous," warned Governor Abbott in a statement.

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Mandatory evacuations were ordered for several Texas towns, with a neighborhood in Amarillo also under evacuation orders, as per the National Weather Service office in the city.

In Canadian, Texas, a hospital system evacuated all patients and staff, while the Moore County Sheriff’s Office directed residents in Fritch to evacuate several neighborhoods.

Amidst deteriorating air quality, meteorologists advised people in Amarillo to stay indoors and keep pets safe indoors.

In Oklahoma, authorities urged residents in Ellis and Roger Mills counties near the Texas border to evacuate.

Near Amarillo, a blaze threatened Pantex, a nuclear weapons disassembly plant, prompting its closure and the evacuation of nonessential personnel. Though no fire was reported on-site or near its perimeters, nuclear safety officials were mobilized to respond, assured Laef Pendergraft, a nuclear safety engineer at Pantex.

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The Great Plains also faced wildfires in Nebraska and Kansas, fueled by unseasonably high temperatures and strong winds, exacerbating the already dire situation.

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