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Texas fires continue to burn out of control with weekend weather forecasting worse conditions: Live

Snow in area affected by Texas wildfires

Five wildfires ripping across Texas have killed at least two people, with authorities worried about more casualties as a thorough search for victims was yet to be conducted.

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.

A tally of the numerous homes and other structures damaged or destroyed in the fires is not available yet.

The Magenta Fire in Oldham County, which is covering an estimated 3,300 acres, is now 85 per cent contained, according to an update from the Texas A&M Forest Service.

But the Smokehouse Creek fire, the largest in state history, is still only 5 per cent contained with no end in sight.

The fire has burned 1,075,000 acres, according to the Forest Service. It is now the second-largest fire in US history, local fire officials said, and more than five times the size of New York City.

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‘Critical’ fire weather conditions coming to Texas Panhandle this weekend

Strong winds and low humidity will hit the Texas Panhandle this weekend, mirroring the same conditions in the region when several of the blazes started.

“Critical fire weather conditions are expected to return midday Saturday and once again after sunrise Sunday,” the National Weather Service for Amarillo said. “Please refrain entirely from outdoor activities that generate sparks or flames.”

Earlier this week, strong wind gusts and very dry grasses helped fuel these fires — including the Smokehouse Creek blaze, which is now the largest in state history and still only 5 per cent contained.

Katie Hawkinson1 March 2024 14:20

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Volunteers leading firefighting efforts in some Panhandle cities

A Hutchinson County official reminded residents that some cities in the Panhandle are being protected from fires by volunteer-based departments.

“I want to kind of reiterate in Fritch and Stinnett, both are volunteer-based fire departments,” a spokesperson with the Hutchinson County Office of Emergency Management said Thursday afternoon. “So these people do not have to do that. That’s them just doing what they feel like they need to do for their community.”

Both cities were hit hard by the fires scorching 1.2m acres in the Texas Panhandle this week.

Katie Hawkinson1 March 2024 14:00

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ICYMI: Watch as plane flies over apocalyptic wildfire raging in Texas

Plane flies over apocalyptic wildfire raging in Texas near nuclear weapons facility

Katie Hawkinson1 March 2024 13:00

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Previous prescribed burns helped limit flames this week

An official with the Hutchinson County, Texas Office of Emergency Services said prescribed burning helped prevent this week’s fires from becoming worse.

“You can see where we did our prescribed burns previously, how, thankfully, our wildland team did that, because that saved a lot of people’s properties,” the spokesperson said on a Facebook live video. “I know we couldn’t save everything.”

Late last year, Texas officials conducted a prescribed burn in Hutchinson County, which prevented this week’s fires from spreading into the southern parts of the town of Borger, CNN reports.

Prescribed burns are fires intentionally set in controlled areas to destroy fire fuels like dried-out grass and leaves. Indigenous communities have used this practice for millennia and have long advocated for the US government to adopt it in fire-vulnerable areas.

Katie Hawkinson1 March 2024 12:00

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WATCH: President Joe Biden addresses Texas Panhandle wildfires

Joe Biden addresses Texas Panhandle wildfires

Katie Hawkinson1 March 2024 11:00

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Full story: Second person dies as Texas wildfires become biggest blaze in state’s history

A second death has been confirmed in the raging wildfires in Texas that have become the biggest blaze in the state’s history.

Cindy Owens, believed to be in her 40s, from Amarillo City in Potter County was confirmed dead by officials on Thursday.

She was driving in Texas‘s Hemphill County south of Canada and got out of the truck for an unknown reason and “the fire simply overtook her”, according to Sergeant Chris Ray of the Texas Department of Public Safety told NBC.

Stuti Mishra1 March 2024 10:00

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SEE IT: Snow blankets newly-burned areas of Hutchinson County

Snow covers a destroyed home in Hutchinson County, Texas on Thursday

(AP)

A scorched car sits under a blanket of snow in Stinnett, Texas on Thursday

(AP)

Snow covers a scorched landscape and a cow who died amid the blaze in Fritch, Texas

(AP)

Katie Hawkinson1 March 2024 09:00

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Magenta fire now 85% contained

The Magenta Fire in Oldham County, which is covering an estimated 3,300 acres, is now 85 per cent contained, according to an update from the Texas A&M Forest Service.

“Firefighters continue to patrol and mop up across the fire area, checking for heat near containment lines,” the forest service said. “Dozer crews are widening and improving these lines.”

Stuti Mishra1 March 2024 08:00

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Charred homes, blackened earth after Texas town revisited by destructive wildfire 10 years later

Katie Hawkinson1 March 2024 07:00

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Woman killed as Smokehouse Creek fire destroys 1m acres of Texas

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.

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.

Katie Hawkinson1 March 2024 05:01




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