Texas Wildfire Torches Over 1M Acres, Largest In State History: ‘The Losses Could Be Catastrophic’
A view of the Smokehouse Creek fire from a fire truck at the Texas panhandle region in Texas, United States on February 29, 2024. (Photo by Greenville Firefighter Association/ Handout /Anadolu via Getty Images)
Greenville Firefighter Association/ Handout /Anadolu via Getty Images

One of several wildfires raging in the Texas Panhandle has grown to become the largest in state history.

The Smokehouse Creek fire has been burning since Monday and emergency crews have made little progress in containing it. It has so far torched over 1 million acres of land in Texas, the most by a wildfire in the history of the state, and 31,500 acres in Oklahoma, according to CNN.

The Smokehouse Creek fire is just one of several that have ripped through Texas cattle country this week. Two people have died so far in the fires. Ranchers have lost thousands of livestock with many more likely to be euthanized. Many homes and other buildings have been lost to the flames, as well.

The owners of the historic Turkey Track ranch in Texas estimate that it has lost at least 80% of its land to the wildfires.

“The loss of livestock, crops, and wildlife, as well as ranch fencing and other infrastructure throughout our property as well as other ranches and homes across the region is, we believe, unparalleled in our history,” the ranch said in a statement.

The Panhandle is home to roughly 85% of Texas’ cattle herds, supporting over 10 million head of livestock, state agriculture commissioner Sid Miller told The New York Times. Most of the cattle are kept in feedlots and dairy farms that have been largely unaffected by the wildfires, Miller said.

“There are millions of cattle out there, with some towns comprising more cattle than people,” Miller told The Wall Street Journal. “The losses could be catastrophic for those counties. Farmers and ranchers are losing everything.”

Videos of the Texas wildfires have surfaced on social media. The footage shows miles of land covered in flames and dark smoke. As of Thursday afternoon, fire officials said the Smokehouse Fire was just 3% contained.

“Most of the fuels around here are dried grass, though, in some of the drainages and stuff, you can get some heavier fuel, some trees, some brush, things like that,” Sean Dugan of the Texas A&M Forest Service told CBS News.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 60 counties on Tuesday because of the wildfires.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Texas Wildfire Torches Over 1M Acres, Largest In State History: ‘The Losses Could Be Catastrophic’