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The largest wildfire in Texas history could spread faster this weekend

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The largest wildfire in Texas history could spread faster this weekend

Deadly Wildfires Devastate Texas and Oklahoma Amid Extreme Weather Conditions

(CNN) — Deadly wildfires have swept through Texas and Oklahoma, burning over 1,000 acres of land as fierce winds and dry air continue to fuel the flames. The Smokehouse Creek Fire in Texas is now the largest fire recorded in the state, covering 435,037 hectares and only 3% contained. It has also spread to more than 12,700 hectares in Oklahoma, making it one of the largest fires in the lower 48 states.

These wildfires have ravaged the Texas Panhandle, destroying neighborhoods, displacing families, and engulfing vital agricultural lands. Four wildfires, including the Smokehouse Creek Fire, have burnt an area equivalent to the state of Delaware. Tragically, the fires have claimed the lives of two individuals in hard-hit Hutchinson and Hemphill counties.

As the fire risk escalates due to gusty winds and low humidity, authorities are urging extreme caution, especially as Texans prepare for Independence Day celebrations. Firefighters are battling rough terrain and challenging topography, making containment efforts difficult despite their relentless efforts.

Recent developments have shown some progress, with containment percentages increasing for the Windy Deuce, Grape Vine Creek, and Magenta fires. Texas Governor Greg Abbott is set to visit the Panhandle and hold a press conference to address the ongoing crisis.

The National Weather Service has issued a fire weather alert for the region, predicting increased temperatures and wind gusts up to 65 km/h throughout the weekend. Communities like Fritch, Texas, are grappling with water shortages and power outages, further complicating relief efforts.

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The devastation extends to farmlands and ranches, with the historic Turkey Track ranch estimating that 80% of its property has burned. The impact on agriculture is expected to be significant, affecting the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers in the region. The Texas Farm Bureau has established a relief fund to support those impacted by the fires.

Tragedy struck when truck driver Cindy Owens lost her life trying to escape the Smokehouse Creek Fire. Another victim, 83-year-old Joyce Blankenship, perished in Hutchinson County. Their deaths serve as a stark reminder of the human toll of these wildfires.

As communities rally to support those affected, relief efforts and donations are pouring in to aid recovery and rebuilding. The resilience and unity shown in the face of this disaster demonstrate the strength and spirit of the residents of Texas and Oklahoma in confronting this crisis.

The wildfires continue to rage on, posing a threat to lives, properties, and ecosystems. With critical conditions persisting, the battle against these infernos remains ongoing, highlighting the urgent need for continued vigilance and support for the affected areas.

By: [Your Name], CNN Journalist

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