Largest fire in Texas history has burned more than 1 million acres

FRITCH, TX – The Smokehouse Creek Fire, the largest wildfire in Texas history, has consumed over 1 million acres of land, surpassing the previous record set by the East Amarillo Complex fire in 2006. As of Thursday morning, the fire was only 3% contained, according to fire officials.

The wildfire, which has also spread to Oklahoma, burning at least 31,590 acres, has caused significant destruction in northern Texas. Among the victims is 83-year-old Joyce Blankenship, who lost her life in the Hutchinson County fire, as confirmed by her family.

This fire is one of five major blazes currently wreaking havoc across the Texas Panhandle, threatening homes, livestock, and livelihoods. Despite the possibility of light rain, dry conditions and strong winds expected to return over the weekend will likely exacerbate the situation.

The North Plains Electric Cooperative has expressed concerns about power outages, stating that it needs to rebuild approximately 115 miles of line. In Hemphill County alone, 400,000 acres have been burned, numerous homes have been destroyed, and thousands of cattle have perished.

Other significant fires include the Windy Deuce Fire, which has burned 142,000 acres and is 30% contained, and the Grape Vine Creek Fire, which has charred 30,000 acres and is 60% contained. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has authorized additional resources to combat the fires, including 94 firefighting personnel, 33 fire engines, and six air tankers.

Oklahoma has also experienced significant damage, with at least 13 homes destroyed. Governor Kevin Stitt has activated emergency response teams. Meanwhile, Fritch, Texas, is under a boil water notice, a difficult task for many residents without electricity or gas.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire’s size increased dramatically after a sudden wind shift on Wednesday. In Fritch, resident Frank Probst helped evacuate elderly neighbors before leaving himself, barely escaping in time.

The fires have left many families, like Tyler McCain’s, homeless and in shock. McCain’s 3-year-old daughter, Addison, has been asking about their destroyed home. McCain expressed regret for not being able to save more of their belongings, especially his daughter’s favorite stuffed animal.