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Texas firefighters completely contain Panhandle inferno that burned more than 1 million acres

By Jayme Lozano Carver, The Texas Tribune

Texas firefighters completely contain Panhandle inferno that burned more than 1 million acres” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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LUBBOCK — Firefighters have completely contained the Smokehouse Creek fire in Hutchinson County after a nearly three-week battle with what quickly became the largest wildfire in Texas history. That inferno and a series of other wildfires killed at least two people as it burned more than 1 million acres across several counties.

Many Panhandle residents lost homes, farms and ranches. Thousands of livestock were killed.

Relief efforts in the region are ongoing. The U.S. Small Business Administration has set up disaster loan outreach centers in Canadian and Borger for people affected. A Texas House committee is investigating the cause of the fires, as well as the response and effectiveness of disaster preparedness.

The Saturday announcement that the Smokehouse Creek fire is 100% contained means that crews have secured its entire perimeter and stopped it from spreading.

“All state resources have been released and the fire has transitioned back to the local unit,” Texas A&M Forest Service said on social media.

The forest service on Saturday also announced that the Windy Deuce fire, which burned more than 144,000 acres in the region, has also been 100% contained.

The Smokehouse Creek fire started Feb. 26, one mile north of Stinnett, about 60 miles northeast of Amarillo. It quickly spread east toward Roberts and Hemphill counties, which suffered most of the damage.

The Windy Deuce fire started in nearby Moore County at 6:20 p.m., four hours after the Smokehouse Creek fire started.

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