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Texas wildfires: Growth surpasses 500,000 acres

Texas Panhandle wildfires prompt evacuations, power outages and shutdown of nuclear weapons facility. 500,000 acres burned in 2nd largest wildfire.

A massive wildfire is raging across the Texas Panhandle, causing evacuations, power outages, and even temporarily shutting down a nuclear weapons facility. The Smokehouse Creek Fire has already consumed 500,000 acres since it started on Monday, making it the second-largest wildfire in Texas history. The flames have been spreading at an alarming rate of 150 football fields per minute, fueled by gusty winds, dry conditions, and unseasonably warm temperatures.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott has declared a disaster in 60 counties in response to the wildfires, urging Texans to take precautions and limit activities that could spark new fires. Over 5,400 people are without power, and evacuations have been ordered in several areas, including Skellytown, Wheeler, Allison, and Briscoe.

The Pantex plant, a key facility for assembling and disassembling America's nuclear arsenal, had to evacuate most of its personnel as the fires raged out of control nearby. However, the facility has since reopened for normal operations, with all personnel instructed to report for duty as scheduled.

Other fires, including the Grape Vine Creek Fire, the Reamer Fire, the Windy Deuce Fire, and the Magenta Fire, have also been wreaking havoc, scorching thousands of acres and leading to more evacuations and property loss. The Canadian Independent School District even had to cancel classes due to the ongoing danger.

Despite the devastation, there is some hope on the horizon for firefighters. The weather forecast predicts cooler temperatures, less wind, and the possibility of rain, which should aid in their efforts to contain and extinguish the blazes. However, the situation remains critical, with structures and homes lost, and many areas still under threat. The community is coming together to support those affected, and emergency responders are working tirelessly to bring the situation under control.

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