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Historical Texas Wildfire Threatens to Increase While the Cause Is Still Being Investigated

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With over 1.1 million acres consumed in almost a week, the largest wildfire in Texas history is still wreaking havoc in the Panhandle region of the state. High heat and dry winds on Sunday contributed to the fire, which destroyed hundreds of homes and killed at least two people.

The Texas A&M Forest Service reports that a number of wildfires that started on February 26 are still burning in the area. The weather is still critical for wildfires, with highs in the 70s and low 80s, 50 mph wind gusts, and humidity levels below 15%.

With almost 1,078,000 acres burned, the Smokehouse Creek Fire is currently the largest wildfire in Texas history. Containment is still only at 15% despite efforts, and Saturday’s bad weather made the fire activity worse.

Investigators are working hard to determine what caused the destructive fire. According to recent filings with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, the fire might have been started by an Xcel Energy utility pole that fell. Governor Greg Abbott states that inquiries are still in progress, and preliminary estimates place the number of destroyed structures between 400 and 500.

Sadly, only two deaths have been reported, and police have not yet carried out a comprehensive search for any more casualties. The fact that many firefighters have also been hurt makes fighting fires even more difficult.

Thousands of cattle have died in the fires, so the impact goes beyond human casualties. Sid Miller, the Texas Agriculture Commissioner, issues a dire warning to ranchers whose livelihoods rely largely on the cattle industry: they could suffer devastating losses.

Communities in the impacted areas struggle with tremendous loss and destruction as the situation develops. Authorities continue to put forth great effort to protect people and property, but efforts to limit the wildfire and lessen its effects are still critical.

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