Texas firefighters battle blazes fueled by high winds as warnings remain in place across the region


MCALLEN, Texas (AP) — Strong winds fanned flames Sunday and forced at least one person to evacuate while airplanes dropped fire retardant material across the northern portion of the state. texas Panhandle firefighters worked to stop the largest wildfire in state history.

As of Sunday afternoon, the Smokehouse Creek fire, which had burned more than 1 million acres (404,685 hectares), was 15% contained. Two other fires had burned a total of 180,000 acres (72,843 ha), 60% contained.

A cluster of fires in rural areas around Amarillo have spread over more than 1,900 square miles (4,921 square kilometers), while the largest fire has spread into a neighboring area. oklahoma,

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Sunday that the federal government has dedicated money, equipment and personnel to help fight the fires, but warned that more severe weather could be coming.

“More than one million acres of land has been burnt. And we’re in winter, and this is the largest fire in Texas history,” Mayorkas said during a CNN interview. “We, as a country and as a world, must prepare for the growing impacts of Extreme weather due to climate change, “This is a remarkable event, and it will manifest itself in the coming days, and we must prepare for it now.”

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The National Weather Service on Sunday issued a red flag warning for much of Central America, including Texas and its neighboring states — indicating extreme fire danger due to hot temperatures, low humidity and strong winds. new Mexico and oklahoma.

Red flag warnings covered almost all of Nebraska and Iowa, as well as large parts of Kansas, Missouri and South Dakota. small parts of colorado, WyomingMinnesota and Illinois were also under red flag warnings.

X, East According to a post by the National Weather Service’s Amarillo office on Twitter, strong winds fanned the flames, prompting an evacuation order for the town of Sanford, Texas, with a little more than 100 residents.

As firefighters battled unprecedented Forest fire, humanitarian organizations are dedicated to helping victims who have lost their homes and livelihoods. Residents began clearing affected properties on Saturday and the extent of the damage began to grow by Sunday.

Donations ranging from $25 to $500 have been vital to the Hutchinson County United Way Wildfire Relief Fund, which is distributing proceeds to displaced families.

“We already know that there is a large group of people without insurance who have lost their homes. So without monetary assistance, it will be very difficult for them to start over,” said Julie Winters, executive director of Hutchinson County United Way.

The organization has heard estimates of more than 150 homes. is being affected Within the county, the fire has spread to at least five other counties, Winters said.

A steady flood of donated clothing, water and hot food overwhelmed a community in the affected area. The city of Borger, Texas, in a social media post urged people to redirect donation efforts to supplies ranging from food and water to cleanup supplies including shovels, rakes, gloves and trash bags.

Associated Press writers Thomas Strong in Washington, D.C., and Trisha Ahmed in Minneapolis contributed to this story.

Copyright 2024 The associated Press, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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