Authorities caution that this weekend could see the worst fire the state has ever seen

Texas officials have issued a warning that heavy winds predicted for the weekend could contribute to the state’s largest-ever fire. The wildfire is still raging, having claimed the lives of two people and thousands of animals. With a total area of over 1.1 million acres, the Smokehouse Creek Fire has destroyed homes, severely damaged cattle ranches, and left a barren landscape in its wake. Just 15% of the fire had been suppressed as of Friday afternoon. Governor Greg Abbott has issued a warning to the public to maintain caution and not “let down their guard”. At a press conference, he declared, “Everyone needs to understand that we face enormous potential fire dangers as we head into this weekend.”

 

As firefighters work to confine the fire, fire weather watches have been issued for Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle for Saturday through Sunday midnight. The Texas Panhandle, a region in the state’s north that is home to enormous cattle ranches, is where the majority of the state’s fires occur, including the mammoth Smokehouse Creek Fire. Although there aren’t many people living on the land, millions of cows, calves, steers, and bulls are raised there. According to Governor Abbott, the fire has destroyed between 400 and 500 buildings based on preliminary damage assessments. “When you look at the damages that have occurred here, it’s just gone, completely gone, nothing left but ashes on the ground,” said Abbott.

 

According to Sid Miller, the Texas agricultural commissioner, thousands of animals are thought to have perished on Thursday. “Just my prediction, but it will be 10,000 that will have died or we’ll have to euthanize,” he stated. It’s depressing. Many of those cattle have burned teats on their udders and scorched hooves, yet they are still alive. It really is a very unfortunate circumstance.” The Panhandle is home to more than 85% of Texas’ cattle herd, which is the largest in the country. The surrounding grasslands were charred by the fire on Thursday, and local cattle farmers were frantically trying to preserve their animals as well as themselves.

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