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Texas wildfires, second-largest on record, rage across Panhandle

Texas Panhandle wildfire devastates Canadian town, destroying homes and businesses. Residents evacuate as massive blaze continues to spread.

In the small Texas Panhandle town of Canadian, Richard Murray, a 72-year-old mechanic, was devastated as he surveyed the charred remains of his workshop and home of 50 years. The night before, a sheriff's deputy had ordered him and his wife to evacuate as the state's second-largest wildfire approached.

The wildfire, which started northeast of Amarillo, has spread across 850,000 acres of grasslands and timber, reaching the border of Oklahoma. Tragically, at least one person has been reported dead in the blaze, with containment lines carved around just 3% of the fire.

The Smokehouse Creek fire, as it's been named, has caused immense destruction, surpassing the land mass of Rhode Island. Terrill Bartlett, the mayor of Canadian, expressed gratitude that there were no serious injuries or fatalities in the town, but the loss of homes has been devastating for residents.

Murray and his wife are among those who have lost everything, but the community has come together to support them and others affected by the fires. The town is rallying to help those in need, offering shelter, prayers, and comfort during this difficult time.

Despite the destruction, there have been moments of hope and resilience. Julene Castillo, a resident of Canadian, narrowly escaped the flames and found her home still standing. She opened her church to provide refuge for those in need, embodying the spirit of unity and support that defines the community of Canadian.

As firefighters continue to battle the blazes and authorities work to provide assistance, the people of Canadian are facing this crisis with strength and determination. The road to recovery will be long, but the bonds forged in the face of adversity will help the town rebuild and heal.

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