Massive Fire Erupts In Texas; Second Largest In State History

A massive fire that erupted on Monday in the Texas Panhandle has quickly become the second largest fire in state history, engulfing more than 850,000 acres.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire has killed at least one person, destroyed numerous homes, and killed livestock across the vast ranch lands, according to a report from The New York Times.

Governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas Division of Emergency Management (DEM) to deploy additional state emergency response resources to support efforts to address the fire.

“As dangerous wildfires continue to impact the Texas Panhandle, I directed DEM to immediately deploy additional wildfire response resources to ensure the safety of Texans and impacted communities,” Abbott said. “Thank you to our federal partners at FEMA for quickly approving Texas’ request for grant assistance as we continue to fight these dangerous wildfires. I encourage Texans in affected areas to heed the guidance of local officials and first responders and to take all necessary precautions to keep your family and loved ones safe. We continue to work alongside TDEM, local officials, and emergency response personnel to provide all available resources to protect our fellow Texans.”

Abbott’s office said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) request for the fires, which means the state will be eligible to be reimbursed by the federal government for up to 75% of the costs associated with fighting those fires.

“According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, high volume of dry, freeze cured grasses will continue to support fire spread today,” Abbott added. “As we approach the weekend, the fire environment will trend warmer and drier, resulting in the potential for additional wildfire activity across the Texas Panhandle this weekend. Portions of South Texas continue to face increased wildfire risk, as well as East Texas, amid active burns. Additionally, the Texas A&M Forest Service raised the Wildland Fire Preparedness Level to Level 3 today due to an increase in current and expected wildfire activity over the next several days.”

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