• Outdoors Outdoors

Firefighters navigate waves of smoke amid 800,000-acre winter wildfire in Texas: 'Terrifying'

"We are tired, we are devastated, but we will not falter."

"We are tired, we are devastated, but we will not falter."

Photo Credit: iStock

"We are tired, we are devastated, but we will not falter. We will not quit."

These are the words of the Fritch Volunteer Fire Department in Fritch, Texas, written in a Facebook post as they battle the Smokehouse Creek Fire

What's happening? 

The devastating fire erupted Monday and has burned over 1 million acres in Texas alone, making it the state's largest fire on record, as reported by CNN. 

Early yesterday morning, in a post to X, formerly known as Twitter, The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) wrote that "Over 500,000 acres have been consumed by the #SmokehouseCreekFire, prompting evacuations and emergency declarations across Texas Panhandle counties as the fires spread." 

It's not the only fire wreaking havoc on the area and its residents, either. 

The Washington Post reports that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration Tuesday across 60 counties as numerous fires raged across the panhandle region. The Smokehouse Creek Fire is the largest, and as of Wednesday afternoon, was only 3% contained.

At the same time, the Windy Deuce Fire and the Grape Vine Creek Fire were also active.

"Terrifying," commented one user on The Weather Channel's post. 

"Do they know what caused the fire?" asked another. 

Why are these fires concerning? 

Loss of lives and homes is clearly concerning. On top of this, the answer to the second user's question is a major cause of concern. 

These fires ignited amid record-high temperatures in the area, leaving vegetation extremely dry and ripe to burn. They are also part of a trend toward larger and more frequent wildfires — not only in the area but globally. 

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin also had to declare a state of emergency last November when two wildfires broke containment lines amid dry conditions and high winds, and wildfires in Chile recently caused the nation's worst disaster since 2010.  

As global temperatures rise due to human activity, severe weather events like wildfires, flooding, and hurricanes are picking up in frequency and intensity, with experts warning we may reach a point of no return. Continued wildfires will threaten homes, lives, wildlife, and the health of humans and the planet. 

There is also concern about "zombie fires" reigniting, as The Post reported that while there has been a break in the heat, fire weather is forecast to return this weekend.

"If there's anything left of these fires, it could kick them back into gear again," said Samuel Scoleri, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Amarillo.

What can be done to help? 

To stop the frequency and intensity of fires like this from ravaging communities, we can all work to stop the dangerous overheating of our planet. 

We can change how we get around, reduce our reliance on polluting plastics, and invest in energy-saving measures at home, to name a few. If we all do our part where we can, we can keep communities safer and stop before we reach a breaking point. 

Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider