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Texas wildfires: Firefighter killed responding to blaze as state pleads for hay to stem cattle losses

Cool weather on Monday managed to help officials quell some of the fires as containment levels increased early this week, with two fires becoming completely contained.

But fire authorities warn that increased fire weather could hit the Texas Panhandle Thursday and Friday. At a news conference on Tuesday, Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd pleaded with nearby residents not to start any new fires.

“Over 90% of wildfires are human caused,” he claimed. Strong winds and dry conditions this past weekend exacerbated flames, including the Smokehouse Creek Fire in northern Texas which remains only 44 per cent contained, according to the forest service. The fires began late last month.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire has burned more than 1.3 million acres across the Texas Panhandle and destroyed 500 structures. It’s now the largest fire in the state’s history and one of the largest in the US’ history.

Authorities say it has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of cattle and forcing evacuations. Statewide, the fires have killed at least two civilians and one volunteer fire chief.

A lawsuit filed last week claims that the fires originated from an electric pole that wasn’t properly inspected, fell and started the blaze.

Key Points

Satellite image shows ash cover from Smokehouse Creek Fire

Saturday 2 March 2024 22:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Red Flag Warning in effect until 7pmCST

Saturday 2 March 2024 22:30 , Andrea Cavallier

A Red Flag Warning remains in effect until 7pmCST on Saturday for critical fire weather conditions as the fires continue in the Texas panhandle.

Former VP Al Gore calls for action amid Texas wildfires, California blizzard

Saturday 2 March 2024 23:00 , Andrea Cavallier

The former vice president called for action as The Smokehouse Creek Fire continues to rage in Texas and a blizzard pummels northern California.

“Today from Truckee to Texas, communities are coming face-to-face with the devastating impacts of the climate crisis. 100mph winds and 12’ of snow are battering the Sierra Nevada while crews battle the largest wildfire in Texas history. We owe it to our our communities, neighbors, friends, and family to take action now to prevent further climate chaos.”

Map of fires ravaging the Texas Panhandle

Sunday 3 March 2024 00:00 , Andrea Cavallier

The Smokehouse Creek fire is the largest in state history, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

It is just 15 per cent contained after five days, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service on Saturday.

Here’s a map where the fires are raging:

Texas wildfires: Map of blazes ravaging the Panhandle

Deadly Texas fires destroy up to 500 structures

Sunday 3 March 2024 03:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Two dead as Smokehouse Creek fire ravages Texas panhandle

Sunday 3 March 2024 05:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Joyce Blankenship, 83, was found dead in her Stinnett, Texas home on Wednesday as wildfires ravaged the region. She was a beloved mother, grandmother and former substitute teacher, say her relatives.

More than a dozen other homes in her town were destroyed by the fires, which now include the largest blaze in state history: the Smokehouse Creek fire, burning one million acres alone in the Texas Panhandle.

Blankenship’s grandson, Lee Quesada, told the Associated Press that local deputies told his uncle they had found her remains in her burned home on Wednesday.

On Thursday it was confirmed that a second woman – Cindy Owens – had succumbed to her injuries after getting out of her truck and being severely burned.

SEE IT: Destruction from largest fire in Texas state history

Sunday 3 March 2024 11:00 , Andrea Cavallier

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
Fire officials handle smoldering debris of a destroyed home in Stinnett, Texas (AP)
Fire officials handle smoldering debris of a destroyed home in Stinnett, Texas (AP)

Maps of fires ravaging the Texas Panhandle

Sunday 3 March 2024 14:00 , Andrea Cavallier

The Smokehouse Creek fire is now the largest in state history as it burns 1,078,086 acres alone, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. It is just 15 per cent contained as of Saturday.

The fires have killed at least two people.

Joyce Blankenship, 83, was found dead in her destroyed Hutchinson County home, officials said.

On Thursday it was confirmed that a second woman – Cindy Owens – had succumbed to her injuries after getting out of her truck and being severely burned.

See maps of these deadly blazes:

Texas wildfires: Map of blazes ravaging the Panhandle

Critical fire weather conditions continue today

Sunday 3 March 2024 15:05 , Andrea Cavallier

“Critical fire weather conditions are expected to continue today as winds out of the southwest gust to 50 mph and humidity drops below 15 percent,” the National Weather Service posted on Sunday. “Please refrain entirely from outdoor activities that generate sparks or flames.”

Two firefighters were injured battling flames in Oklahoma

Sunday 3 March 2024 15:20 , Andrea Cavallier

Two firefighters were injured battling the flames in Oklahoma from the fire that spread from Texas, The Associated Press reported.

One suffered a heat-related injury and the other was injured when the brush pumper he was riding in struck a tanker truck as the two were heading to fight the fire near Gage.

Both firefighters are expected to recover.

See it: Time lapse of Smokehouse Creek Fire

Sunday 3 March 2024 15:40 , Andrea Cavallier

Video obtained by ABC7 Amarillo shows a time lapse of the time lapse of the Smokehouse Creek Fire.

In four minutes, the air temperature goes from 75 degrees to 104 degrees.

Donations of hay delivered to Texas panhandle

Sunday 3 March 2024 16:12 , Andrea Cavallier

Donations of feed and hay continue to be delivered to the Texas panhandle for ranchers in need.

“But it’s more than a round bale or a sack of feed,” the Texas Farm Bureau said in a tweet. “It’s hope and faith rolled up tight along with prayers for a better tomorrow.”

SEE IT: Planes scoop water from lake to dump on Texas wildfires

Sunday 3 March 2024 17:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Multi-engine Airtankers (Super Scoopers) scoop water out of Lake Meredith before responding to the #WindyDeuceFire,” according to a tweet posted by Texas A&M Forest Service.

There are also 13 aircraft in Texas working on active wildfires.

How to help during Texas panhandle fires

Sunday 3 March 2024 17:30 , Andrea Cavallier

A Texas Panhandle Wildfire Relief Fund has been created by the Texas Farm Bureau in an effort to help farmers and ranchers who have been affected by the fires.

This program will collect and distribute monetary contributions only, the fund says.

PHOTOS: Destruction of Texas panhandle fires

Sunday 3 March 2024 18:00 , Andrea Cavallier

 (AP)
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Fire weather conditions remain in Texas Panhandle

Sunday 3 March 2024 18:30 , Andrea Cavallier

Fire weather conditions remain in the Panhandle and extend across West Texas, the Texas Division of Emergency Management tweeted.

Also included was a list of helpful prevention tips.

Will Texas panhandle get rain amid raging wildfires?

Sunday 3 March 2024 19:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Rain could be possible later in the week, according to a NWS Amarillo tweet. But not a high chance.

“Not a high chance at this time, but we will watch the chance for rain later this week. Could even see a few thunderstorms, especially for the eastern Panhandles into western Oklahoma. Check back for updates to the forecast as we go through the coming week #phwx #TXwx #OKwx”

Cold front to move across Texas Panhandle on Monday

Sunday 3 March 2024 20:40 , Andrea Cavallier

A cold front set to move across the Texas Panhandle on Monday amid the largest wildfire in state’s history.

Officials said until then, however, critical fire weather conditions remain in effect.

WATCH: Firefighters drive through largest blaze in Texas history in terrifying footage

Sunday 3 March 2024 21:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Who has died in the Texas fires?

Monday 4 March 2024 05:00 , Andrea Cavallier

Joyce Blankenship, 83, of Hutchinson County was found dead inside her home on Wednesday.

Cindy Owens, of Amarillo City, was found dead after she exited her vehicle for an unknown reason and “the fire simply overtook her” on Thursday.

Texas cattle business will take years to recover

Monday 4 March 2024 16:53 , Michelle Del Rey

Cattle ranchers told CNN that they’re being forced to euthanize their animals as they suffer injuries from the blaze that’ll likely leave the cattle business struggling to recover for years.

Millions of Texas cattle live in the Panhandle, where some of the strongest wildfires took place.

Dry weather making fire difficult to tackle

Monday 4 March 2024 18:10 , Michelle Del Rey

According to USA Today, warm, dry weather in the area has made the fires difficult to tackle but a cold front is expected to move into the Panhandle region on Monday.

The following wildfires are currently being supported by emergency services

Monday 4 March 2024 19:45 , Michelle Del Rey

  • Windy Deuce Fire, Moore County: 144,206 acres, 55% contained

  • Grape Vine Creek Fire, Gray County: 34,882 acres, 60% contained

  • Magenta Fire, Oldham County: 3,297 acres, 85% contained

  • Roughneck Fire, Hutchinson County: est. 300 acres, 25% contained

  • Smokehouse Creek Fire, Hutchinson County: est. 1,076,638 acres, 15% contained

Map of affected areas

Monday 4 March 2024 20:19 , Michelle Del Rey

The Texas Division of Emergency Management released a map showing the current fire trends in the state.

'Have to be ready': Homeland secretary warns more extreme weather could be coming

Monday 4 March 2024 21:08 , Michelle Del Rey

US Homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas expressed concern over the unprecedented scale of the fires in winter and said the country should be prepared for worse in the summer.

"More than a million acres have burned. And we are in winter, and this is the largest fire in Texas history," Mr Mayorkas said during an interview with CNN on Sunday.

"We, as a country and as a world, have to be ready for the increasing effects of extreme weather caused by climate change. It's a remarkable phenomenon, and it will manifest itself in the days to come, and we have to prepare for it now."

He said the federal government has devoted funds, equipment and personnel to assist with battling the fires.

Another town evacuated as fires rage on

Monday 4 March 2024 21:15 , Michelle Del Rey

A small community was ordered to evacuate over the weekend as firefighters kept up efforts to stamp out the largest wildfire in state history while contending with new blazes.

Strong winds spread the flames further, prompting an evacuation order to be issued in Sanford, a town of a little more than 100 residents, according to the Amarillo office of the National Weather Service, which posted on X.

Residents began clearing affected property on Saturday, and by Sunday the extent of the loss began mounting.

A cluster of fires has burned more than 1,900 square miles (4,900 square kilometres) in rural areas surrounding Amarillo, including the largest blaze spilling into neighbouring Oklahoma.

Humanitarian organisations helping victims of Texas fire

Monday 4 March 2024 21:45 , Michelle Del Rey

As firefighters battle against strong winds in their efforts to contain the unprecedented wildfires in the Texas Pandhandle, humanitarian organisations are pivoting their attention to victims who have lost their homes and livelihoods in the blazes.

Residents began clearing affected property on Saturday, and by Sunday the extent of the loss began mounting.

Julie Winters, the executive director for Hutchinson County United Way, said the organisation has heard estimates of over 150 homes being impacted in the county, noting that the fires extend to at least five other counties.

"We already know that a large group of people are uninsured who lost their homes. So without monetary assistance, it's going to be very hard for them to start back over," Ms Winters said.

About 70 families from Fritch, Texas, approached the organization on Friday during an event, but Ms Winters believes many others will come forward in the days and weeks ahead.

"Our goal is just for the long term of trying to get people back into shelters," Winters said.

A steady outpouring of donated clothing, water, and hot meals quickly overwhelmed one city in the affected area. By Sunday, the city of Borger urged people to redirect their donation efforts from food and water to clean-up supplies.

Monetary donations from people ranging from $25 to $500 have been critical for the Hutchinson County United Way Wildfire Relief Fund, which is dispersing proceeds to displaced families.

"I think sometimes what people don't understand in a small rural community is that there is no temporary housing," Ms Winters said. "We don't have real property like that and we don't even have hotels that can take care of those things."

Winters said the fires remind her of the similar devastating effects from the 2014 fire in Fritch when numerous families also lost their homes and were unable to return.

"How do you get people back into homes so that they can stay in our community and not have to move somewhere else?" Ms Winters said.

AP

SEE IT: Plane makes retardant drop on Smokehouse Creek Fire

Monday 4 March 2024 22:00 , Michelle Del Rey

A large airtanker makes a retardant drop on the eastern perimeter of the Smokehouse Creek Fire in Hutchinson County.

California sends its national guard to fight fires

Monday 4 March 2024 22:15 , Michelle Del Rey

Gavin Newsom, the state’s Democratic senator, made the announcement on X.

Texas A&M Forest Service says one fire is 60 per cent contained

Monday 4 March 2024 22:30 , Michelle Del Rey

The Roughneck Fire is 60 per cent contained, the Texas A&M Forest Service announced on X. The fire is located in Hutchinson County and has spread to about 300 acres.

Firefighters continued suppression efforts overnight, officials said. Today, crews are focused on clearing the area of burning material and checking for heat.

Lawsuit blames Texas Smokecreek fire on energy company

Monday 4 March 2024 23:22 , Michelle Del Rey

A splintered power poll owned by Xcel Energy and maintained by Southwestern Public Service Company fell and started the fire, a woman from Hemphill County, where the blaze has destroyed thousands of acres, said.

Melanie McQuiddy is suing both of the companies in a lawsuit she filed last week.

“Xcel will pay for every dollar that its wildfire has caused,” her attorney Mikal Watts told Reuters.

Here’s where active and contained fires are located

Monday 4 March 2024 23:42 , Michelle Del Rey

The following are a list of current active and contained fires, according to Texas A&M Forest Service.

Active:

  • Grape Vine Creek Fire, Gray County - 34,882 acres, 60% contained

  • Smokehouse Creek Fire, Hutchinson County - est. 1,076,638 acres, 15% contained

  • Windy Deuce Fire, Moore County - 144,206 acres, 55% contained

  • Magenta Fire, Oldham County - 3,297 acres, 85% contained

Contained Wildfires (100%):

  • Cass 0367 Fire, Cass County - 1 acre

  • Red River 0369 Fire, Red River County - 1 acre

  • Wood 0366 Fire, Wood County - 5 acres

  • Tyler 0370 Fire, Tyler County - 30 acres

How to protect yourself from wildfire smoke

Tuesday 5 March 2024 00:42 , Michelle Del Rey

- Keep yourself and pets indoors.

- Keep windows closed.

- Turn off outdoor intake air conditioning.

- Avoid exertion if you go outside and consider wearing an N95 mask.

Authorities issue update on Texas wildfires

Tuesday 5 March 2024 01:42 , Michelle Del Rey

The Texas A&M Forest Service issued an update on the ongoing fires on Sunday. The agency said it had responded to four new requests for assistance on wildfires buring 37 acres across the state. Several wildfires across the Texas Panhandle are active.

“The fire environment will trend warmer, drier, and windier across the Texas High Plains and northern Rolling Plains through Sunday ahead of a cold front passage Monday,” a news release stated. “As fuel moisture decreases, expect moderate initial attack fire potential Saturday in the High Plains and upper Rolling Plains where fire danger is forecast as very high.”

The statement noted that Sunday’s fire environment supported “high potential for initial attack fires in the High Plains with moderate potential for large fires that have high resistance to control in dry, above normal grass loading for the southeastern High Plains when subjected to well above normal temperatures and critical wind speeds.

“A large fire will be possible in the western portion of the Canadian River drainage northwest of Amarillo where above normal grass loading is present”.

Governor Greg Abbott responds to Texas fires

Tuesday 5 March 2024 03:42 , Michelle Del Rey

“As Texans in the Panhandle respond to these devastating wildfires, the State of Texas continues working around the clock to swiftly provide the necessary resources to protect Texans,” Mr Abbott, a Republican, said in a news release.

“The safety and well-being of impacted Texans is our No. 1 priority as the potential for more dangerous wildfires persists in the coming days.

“We urge Texans to continue to heed the guidance of state and local officials and utilize tools that have been made available by the Texas Division of Emergency Management and local partners. I thank our brave firefighters and first responders who are risking their lives and working around-the-clock to protect their fellow Texans during this time of crisis.”

Texas wildfire not expected to have a significant impact on beef

Tuesday 5 March 2024 11:42 , Michelle Del Rey

David P Anderson, professor of agricultural economics at Texas A&M University, told CNN that he does not expect the price of beef to be significantly impacted due to the wildfires.

“If the fire hits your ranch, it’s a huge disaster for you,” he told the outlet. “But we don’t expect to see price effects to consumers because of this.”

Wildfires see uptick in containment levels

Tuesday 5 March 2024 18:42 , Michelle Del Rey

Active fires:

  • Grape Vine Creek Fire, Gray County - 34,882 acres, 60% contained

  • Smokehouse Creek Fire, Hutchinson County - est. 1,059,570 acres, 37% contained

  • Windy Deuce Fire, Moore County - 144,206 acres, 55% contained

  • Roughneck Fire, Hutchinson County - 355 acres, 80% contained

The following fires have been completely contained:

  • Magenta Fire, Oldham County - 3,297 acres

  • Upshur 0374 Fire, Upshur County - 1 acres

Governor Abbott to give update on wildfires

Tuesday 5 March 2024 18:03 , Michelle Del Rey

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is expected to deliver remarks this afternoon about the current state of the ongoing wildfires. The conference is set to start momentarily.

70 per cent of Hemphill County burned

Tuesday 5 March 2024 19:04 , Michelle Del Rey

Hemphill County, which is home to the city of Canadian, has been 70 per cent burned, Governor Greg Abbott said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Additionally, 47 families have been displaced and given emergency shelter through the American Red Cross and similar organisations.

Fire weather expected Thursday and Friday

Tuesday 5 March 2024 19:28 , Michelle Del Rey

Officials in Texas are warning that fire weather could continue on Thursday and Friday. Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd asked residents near fires to remain vigilant to ensure no new fires start in the oncoming days at a news conference on Tuesday.

Active wildfires and containment levels as of Monday

Tuesday 5 March 2024 20:18 , Michelle Del Rey

  • Grape Vine Creek Fire, Gray County - 34,882 acres, 60% contained

  • Smokehouse Creek Fire, Hutchinson County - est. 1,076,638 acres, 15% contained

  • Windy Deuce Fire, Moore County - 144,206 acres, 55% contained

  • Magenta Fire, Oldham County - 3,297 acres, 85% contained

  • Roughneck Fire, Hutchinson County - est. 300 acres, 50% contained

Greg Abbott continues to plead for hay, fencing materials

Tuesday 5 March 2024 20:32 , Michelle Del Rey

While speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, the Republican governor pleaded with neighbouring states and communities to send hay and fencing materials. He said that there have been many donations since the fire began but the amount of hay already delivered is not sustainable.

“The hay that has been delivered has already been used, for the most part. And the reality is for not just days, but for months, there’s going to be far more hay that is needed”, he said at a Tuesday news conference.

Greg Abbott responds to death of fire chief

Tuesday 5 March 2024 20:57 , Michelle Del Rey

“To see a chief, a first responder, working to battle back against flames and losing his life in the line of duty is something that we never want to see,” Mr Abbott said of Fritch Volunteer Fire Department Chief Zeb Smith, who died of a heart attack while fighting a fire on Tuesday morning.

Elevated wildfire risks continue this weekend, says Texas emergency management system

Tuesday 5 March 2024 21:12 , Michelle Del Rey

Smokehouse Creek fire now nearly the size of Connecticut

Tuesday 5 March 2024 21:43 , Michelle Del Rey

The Smokehouse Creek fire has expanded to include 1.3m miles, roughly the size of Connecticut.

The number of acres burned from fire previously took the state four years to burn

Tuesday 5 March 2024 22:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Before the start of Texas wildfires, the state took as much as four years to burn the same number of acres that have been scorched since last month, according to CBS News.

Watch: Firefighters drive through largest blaze in Texas history in terrifying footage

Tuesday 5 March 2024 22:30 , Michelle Del Rey

Firefighters drive through largest blaze in Texas history in terrifying footage

What to do if you’re asked to evacuate

Tuesday 5 March 2024 23:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Texas officials are asking people that could potentially be impacted by the ongoing fires to make sure they’re prepared to evacuate. Nearby residents should have their cars filled with the necessary fuel and know where they could go if they need to leave the area, fire officials said at a news conference on Friday.

SEE IT: Texas rancher herds cattle across fire-charred landscape

01:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Threat of new fires expected to decrease throughout the week

03:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Fire environment conditions will become moderate throughout the week, the Texas A&M Forest Service announced in an update on Monday. Officials are hoping that the new conditions will reduce the the likelihood of new wildfires that are difficult to control.

“Cooler temperatures and less wind will aid in the ongoing suppression efforts for active wildfires,” the service said in a news release. “An underlying risk for new wildfires will continue in the Texas Panhandle and South Texas until spring green-up in occurs in the abundance of grass vegetation found in these regions.”

Map of fires ravaging the Panhandle

04:00 , Michelle Del Rey

The Smokehouse Creek fire is the largest in state history, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. It is just 15 per cent contained after six days, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

High winds and low humidity in the Panhandle are causing “critical fire weather conditions,” and threatening to intensify the monster wildfire, according to forecasters. The fires have also destroyed over 500 structures.

Here’s a map of the fires:

Texas wildfires: Map of blazes ravaging the Panhandle

World Central Kitchen working to help families in the area

05:00 , Michelle Del Rey

The nonprofit, which is an organisation that works to make food for families in need, made the announcement on X, formerly Twitter.

Governor Abbott pleads with other states to send hay

07:00 , Michelle Del Rey

During a news conference on Friday, Governor Greg Abbott pleaded with states and regions close to the wildfires to continue to send hay.

“If there’s any state, any city any community that’s provided hay, as the governor of Texas, I want to thank you for your help,” he said, adding, “But also please send more.”

He continued: “We don’t know how long we’re going to be going through this situation with inadequate hay for this region.”

Several people who lost homes in the fire did not have homeowners insurance

09:00 , Michelle Del Rey

State Republican Governor Greg Abbott made the announcement at a news conference on Friday.

“A lot of the people who have lost a home had no insurance,” he said “So there are a lot of people in great need right now.”

Cold front moves across Texas Panhandle on Monday

10:00 , Michelle Del Rey

A cold front set to move across the Texas Panhandle on Monday amid the largest wildfire in state’s history.

Officials said until then, however, critical fire weather conditions remain in effect.

Watch: Video show scorched Texas land

11:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Texas Fire Marshal’s Office issues guidance on wildfires

12:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Will Texas panhandle get rain amid raging wildfires?

13:00 , Michelle Del Rey

Rain could be possible later in the week, according to a NWS Amarillo tweet. But not a high chance.

“Not a high chance at this time, but we will watch the chance for rain later this week. Could even see a few thunderstorms, especially for the eastern Panhandles into western Oklahoma.”

Watch: Texas ranchers begin clean up after fires

16:00 , Michelle Del Rey

New lawsuit describes possible cause of fire

16:02 , Michelle Del Rey

Melanie McQuiddy, a woman from Hemphill County who lost her home in the Smokehouse Creek fire, is suing Xcel Energy Services, and their contractor, Southwestern Public Service Company, for what she believes to be their involvement in an electrical fire that incinerated over a million acres.

Read more:

Faulty power line to blame for devastating Texas wildfire, lawsuit claims

Osmose CEO reacts to allegations in lawsuit

16:15 , Michelle Del Rey

Mike Adams, CEO of Osmose, has issued a statement regarding a new lawsuit that claims the company failed to properly inspect a power pole that fell and started the Smokehouse Creek fire.

“We are closely following reports of the devastation brought by the Smokehouse Creek Fire, and our thoughts are with the victims of this tragedy,” Mr Adams said.

“Osmose takes these allegations extremely seriously. We immediately launched an in-depth investigation, and we are committed to fully cooperating with any other local investigations into the cause of the fire. We stand by the quality and accuracy of our utility pole inspections.”

Watch: Video of Smokehouse Creek fire

16:46 , Michelle Del Rey

Smokehouse Creek fire now 44 per cent contained

17:10 , Michelle Del Rey

Farmers to bear financial brunt as several issues stemming from fire not covered by insurance

17:44 , Michelle Del Rey

Farmers will have to pay to bury their cattle, replace their dead and rebuild their fences, barns and infrastructure which won’t be covered by insurance, according to The Washington Post. Making matters worse, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott told reporters at a news conference that several homeowners who lost their residences in the blaze did not have homeowners insurance.

Many cattle in the Panhandle will have to be relocated indefinitely

18:09 , Michelle Del Rey

Jared Blankenship, a rancher who represents the Panhandle for the Texas Farm Bureau Federation, said that many cattle in the region will need to be relocated indefinitely, according to The Washington Post.

AgriStress helpline available to Texas farmers

18:29 , Michelle Del Rey

The Texas Farm Bureau has a hotline available to farmers in need. The line is free and open 24/7. According to a website advertising the service, everyone who answers the phone is familiar with the agriculture business and can help connect farmers and ranchers to other resources in the area.

The hotline number is 833-897-2474.

Texas representative calls on state to address climate change amid wildfires

18:51 , Michelle Del Rey

Democratic State Representative Ana-Maria Ramos used the Smokehouse Creek fire to bring attention to climate change in a statement posted to X, formerly Twitter.

Climate crisis fuels another destructive wildfire season

19:20 , Michelle Del Rey

The cause of last week’s fires are still unknown but around the world, larger, more intense, and erratic fires are being fuelled by extreme heat and drought.

These conditions are linked to the climate crisis, caused largely by greenhouse gas emissions from decades of burning fossil fuels.

Louise Boyle reports:

California is burning – now more than ever before

Texas fire chief dies fighting fire

19:40 , Michelle Del Rey

Fritch Volunteer Fire Department Chief Zeb Smith died from a heart attack while fighting a structure fire on Tuesday. The department has been fighting the ongoing wildfires in Texas, including the Windy Deuce Fire.

“During the response, Chief Smith faced unforeseen challenges and, despite emergency medical assistance and quick transportation to Golden Plains Community Hospital, tragically succumbed to his injuries,” the city of Borger said in a news release.

“Chief Zeb Smith served the Fritch and Hutchinson County community with selflessness and dedication. His exemplary leadership was evident in his tireless efforts over the past week, where he worked diligently to protect and safeguard his community and fellow citizens”.

Chief Zeb Smith died while fighting a structure fire in the Texas Panhandle on Tuesday. (City of Borger / Hutchinson County OEM)
Chief Zeb Smith died while fighting a structure fire in the Texas Panhandle on Tuesday. (City of Borger / Hutchinson County OEM)

Where to get resources if you’re impacted by the fires

20:00 , Michelle Del Rey

The state released the following information on Monday regarding where impacted people can get government support.

Texans can locate wildfire resources from state agencies by visiting the 2024 February Wildfires page in the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Disaster Portal at tdem.texas.gov, including:

  • Texas Division of Emergency Management: Reporting Wildfire Damage

  • Texas A&M Forest Service: Current Wildfire Situation

  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension: Supporting Wildfire Survivors with Agriculture Needs

  • Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team: How to Request Veterinary Support

  • Texas Animal Health Commission: Wildfire Information for Livestock

  • Texas Department of Agriculture: Hay Hotline, AgriStress Hotline, State of Texas Agriculture Relief Fund