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

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

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.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.