Texas wildfire now second-largest in state history

One of the ongoing wildfires tearing through Texas became the second largest in state history on Wednesday as firefighters continue to battle the blaze.

Raging wildfires swept across the Texas Panhandle in recent days, prompting Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to issue an emergency declaration for 60 counties on Tuesday. The largest fire, dubbed the Smoke House Creek Fire, is now estimated to be 850,000 acres in Hutchinson County and is 3 percent contained as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

The forest service’s website lists the 2006 wildfire East Amarillo Complex as the largest wildfire in state history, burning 907,245 acres at the time. Before the newest wildfire, the second-largest wildfire was the Big Country wildfire in 1988 that burned 366,000 acres.

The New York Times reported that Erin O’Connor, a spokesperson for the Texas A&M Forest Service, confirmed the Smoke House Creek Fire was the second largest in state history. The fire is at least five times larger than it was when it began on Monday, The Associated Press noted.

Videos and photos posted on X, formerly Twitter, by the forest service show thick plumes of smoke and windswept fires spreading on the sidelines of the highways and other areas. The wildfires had prompted evacuations for some parts of the state as officials warned that high winds and dry conditions could spread the wildfires.

“Hot and dry conditions caused by high temperatures and windy conditions are expected to continue in the region in the coming days. These conditions could increase the potential for these wildfires to grow larger and more dangerous,” Abbott wrote in his emergency declaration.

There were multiple fires reported across the state. A separate fire, named the Windy Deuce Fire, is an estimated 90,000 acres in Moore County and is 25 percent contained, according to the forest service. Another fire in Gray County is an estimated 30,000 acres and is 60 percent contained as of Wednesday afternoon.

The forecast on Thursday could provide some relief for firefighters as cooler temperatures, possible rain and less wind is possible, according to AP.

The Hill has reached out to Texas A&M Forest Service for more information.

The Associated Press contributed.

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