UPDATED: Texas Panhandle wildfires result in evacuations, deaths

Mar 7, 2017

Credit Neil Starkey / amarillo.com

UPDATE: By late Wednesday night, CNN was reporting that the Texas wildfires were responsible for five deaths and 325,000 burned acres. Some of the lives lost in the Panhandle belonged to ranchers trying to save their cattle. Nationwide, fires this week have consumed over a million acres and killed seven.

ORIGINAL POST:

A massive wildfire just north of Amarillo yesterday led to the evacuation of several homes, reports The Amarillo Globe-News.

The blaze started east of Highway 287 near River Road, and by afternoon it had almost reached the Fritch Highway and FM 293. Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner signed a mandatory evacuation order as the fire approached homes near Stinnett Road.

By 9 p.m. last night, the wildfire had consumed more than 23,000 acres and threatened almost 150 homes. The Texas A&M Forest Service spent the day dropping water and fire-retardant materials on the blaze.

Meanwhile a second fire near Perryton, in Ochiltree County,  has reportedly consumed over 300,000 acres and destroyed at least two homes, reports KVII.

Unusually warm temperatures this winter have led to high winds and an increased danger of fire across the Texas Panhandle. High plains residents are urged to avoid activities that may promote flames and sparks, such as using grills, or burning leaves and trash.

Credit Valarie Smith / High Plains Public Radio