West Texas is Burning: Maybe the Worst Wildfires in State's History

Massive drought conditions have turned West Texas and the Panhandle into a tinderbox, and the spark has been lit.

This weekend saw what might develop into the worst wildfire days in the state's history, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the Department of Public Safety said.

Said TPWD:

According to National Weather Center meteorologists, the conditions are probable for a regional wildfire outbreak similar to the ones that occurred April 9, 2009 across the Southern Plains of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, claiming 147,924 acres, 111 homes and four lives.

Saturday, Texas Forest Service crews are helping battle the largest wildfire currently burning in the nation and the largest that has occurred in Texas this year. The Swenson Fire in Stonewall, King and Knox Counties estimated at 71,000 acres and growing, has destroyed two homes and threatens many more, including the communities of Benjamin and Guthrie.

The McDonald Observatory was used as an evacuation center over the weekend.

The area around Fort Davis was also hit.

The area where Texas gets hit by wildfires tend to be more sparsely populated than the sometimes ritzy California neighborhoods seen on TV, of course. Still, if you know how to do a rain dance, or call down the precipitation gods, now would be a good time.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly