Satellite images show devastation of Texas wildfires

Images from satellites revealed the extensive damage caused by multiple wildfires in the Texas Panhandle, including the largest wildfire in the state’s history, which remains mostly uncontrolled.

Two individuals have passed away, and around 500 buildings have been demolished in the fires, with some starting last week and being intensified by extreme temperatures and winds, according to officials.

One of the biggest fires in state history is the Smokehouse Creek Fire, which started on Feb. 26 and has now reached approximately 1,076,638 acres. Monday saw containment at 15%.

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, the rise in numbers was partially a result of improved mapping accuracy, and there is a possibility of further changes.

On Thursday, the Smokehouse Creek Fire made history as the largest in the state. The previous largest fire was the East Amarillo Fire of 2006, totaling approximately 907,000 acres, as reported by the Texas A&M Forest Service, a state agency.

One of the ongoing fires is the Windy Deuce Fire in Moore County, spanning approximately 144,000 acres, according to officials. Monday saw containment at 55%. The Grape Vine Creek Fire in Gray County covered an area of 34,882 acres and was 60% contained.

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The region can expect rising temperatures this week, followed by the possibility of precipitation due to a cold front moving in on Friday, according to the National Weather Service in Amarillo.

According to a recent update from the Texas A&M Forest Service on Monday, the increased moisture in the grass will make it more manageable to combat the fires. “In general, the current burn conditions are much better compared to yesterday’s weather, which has significantly improved the ground firefighting capabilities,” stated the agency.

Following the fires in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott has declared a disaster and received approval for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Last week, President Joe Biden announced that FEMA will ensure Texas and Oklahoma are reimbursed for their firefighting efforts.

500 federal personnel, including over 100 federal firefighters, have been sent to Texas with more on the way, according to Biden speaking in Brownsville on Friday. Additional aircraft and equipment have been dispatched.

We stand in solidarity with all those impacted by the wildfires. “We will keep supporting you in your response and recovery,” Biden stated at that time.

Last week, Abbott’s disaster declaration included 60 out of the state’s 254 counties, which is approximately one-quarter of them. He mentioned the possibility of adding more counties. Abbott referred to the wildfires as a crisis in a recent update and emphasized that they are the state’s main focus.

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