Abbott surveys Texas wildfire damage as some areas begin recovery

  • The Smokehouse Creek fire has burned 1 million acres, only 15% contained
  • Wildfire has burned down homes, buildings and cattle ranches
  • Rancher: Fortunate he’s only going to lose 200 of his 1,000 cattle

PAMPA, Texas (NewsNation) — The Texas Panhandle and parts of Oklahoma remained under threat Tuesday from the largest wildfire in Texas state history that has endangered homes and ranches.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott visited the hardest-hit areas Tuesday and held a news conference.

The Texas A&M Forest Service announced Tuesday that the Magenta Fire in Oldham County is 100% contained.

Meanwhile, homeowners and ranchers continue their efforts to recover from the devastation.

Over the last few days, there has been a major sentiment of solidarity as firefighters advance in their efforts to suppress the flames. Additionally, three sites throughout the Panhandle are designated for supply drop-off, particularly hay bales, to help ranchers feed their animals.

Ranchers, who have been heavily impacted by the fires in the Panhandle, produce about 85% of the state’s cattle.

The fires have ravaged countless homes and livelihoods, prompting people to travel from various parts of Texas and even as far away as Colorado to donate hay.

Chance Bowers, who operates X Cross X Ranch, said he expects to lose at least 200 of the 1,000 cattle he had on his ranches. 

“I’ve spent the last 15 years building this cow herd up. We’ve been very blessed, very fortunate that we’re only going to lose 200,” Bowers said.

The largest blaze, the Smokehouse Creek fire, which began Monday, has killed at least two people and left a charred landscape of scorched prairie, dead cattle and burned-out homes.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, although strong winds, dry grass and unseasonably warm weather fed the flames.

The Smokehouse Creek fire has burned over 1 million acres and was 15% contained as of Tuesday. The Windy Deuce fire was 55% contained and the Grape Vine Creek fire 60% contained as of Tuesday.

The National Weather Service forecast for the coming days warns of strong winds, relatively low humidity and dry conditions that pose a “significant” wildfire threat.


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