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Texas Wildfires Are On The Verge Of Getting Worse

Texas saw some of the biggest wildfires in its history on Monday, February 26th. The wildfires in Texas started in the panhandle and have only grown into multiple fires since then. They have already claimed two lives and burned over a million acres of land. The wildfires started on Monday, February 26th,, and have been growing ever since. It is now considered one of the most destructive wildfires in U.S.. history. With Texas reportedly getting higher temperatures and stronger winds next week, the problem will not be helped anytime soon. Let’s investigate how these fires could have started and how the wildfires might have progressed to become worse or be put out. Learning about agriculture and the climate change affecting the Texas panhandle will be able to tell us how these fires could have devastating impacts before being contained. Wildfires started in the Texas panhandle on Monday, February 26th, 2024. Since then, one wildfire has spread to multiple wildfires and has taken over several towns in the Texas panhandle. Citizens of Texas have been anxiously getting away from their homes in hopes that they can save themselves. Jacey Fortin, J. David Goodman, and Anna Betts wrote an article for “The New York Times” on the Texas Wildfires titled, “Texas Has Never Seen a Wildfire This Big: Here’s What We Know”. The article reported, “The fire started February 26th; it is not yet clear how it started. It spread in the town of Canada, a cattle-country community northeast of Amarillo, near the Oklahoma state line” (Fortin, Goodman, and Betts). The article also mentions that the wildfires have destroyed somewhere between 400 to 500 structures and have killed thousands of livestock on the affected farms. With the destroyed livestock and farmland, there has been a new problem. Tobi Raji wrote an article for “The Washington Post” titled, “ The Largest Wildfire in Texas is Still Burning. Here’s What to Know.” The article states, “Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller told NPR that while ranchers and farmers could suffer losses of the blaze, the overall impact on the Texas cattle industry would be minimal. Burned crops, land, and power lines are worrying farmers and ranchers in the region. There is a small amount of food and water for their herds, according to the Texas Tribune” (Raji). The article mentions a significant issue. Although minimal, the agricultural industry in Texas will be affected by these wildfires. Besides the agricultural industry in Texas, the wildfires have also created devastation in a separate way than burning land and killing farm animals. The fire has also claimed two lives from the wildfires in two different towns in Texas. The fire has also already taken the lives of two people. Joyce Blankenship and Cindy Owen died from the effects of the wildfires. Jacey Fortin, J. David Goodman, and Anna Betts wrote an article for “The New York Times” on the Texas Wildfires. The article stated, “Blankenship, an 83-year-old woman living in the town of Stinnett, passed away in her home when flames overtook her property on Tuesday. Owen, 44, died from burns after flames surrounded her company truck as she drove home from Oklahoma. She later died at a hospital” (Fortin, Goodman, and Betts). These are the only two deaths reported from wildfires. The number could grow since the fires have yet to be greatly contained. With all that the wildfire has killed and endangered, they seem unable to stop so far. It isn’t reported to be getting better for Texas, with elevated temperatures and high winds reported for next week. The intensifying weather has caused people to consider that climate change plays a factor in the wildfires’ strength and longevity. Evan Bush and Denise Chow wrote an article for “NBC News” about the Texas wildfires and climate change. The article said, “The winds sent wildfires running across the Texas Panhandle at the perfect time, like a hurricane making landfall at high tide, Texas State Climatologist John Nielson-Gammon said. Hot, dry temperatures helped create conditions for those fires to take off (Bush and Chow). The article suggests that the intense winds aided the wildfire in dry land. The hot temperatures and lack of rain also didn’t help to stop the wildfires. It’s easy to see how climate change made the series of wildfires in Texas that much worse. That doesn’t seem to be the only problem for the Texas climate. Emily Foxhall for “The Texas Tribune” wrote an article on the Texas climate’s effect on the wildfires titled, “Record Winter Heat, dry air helped drive Panhandle Fire Risk.” Foxhall wrote, “Wildfire seasons have been getting longer and have intensified, according to a May 2023 report from Climate Central, a nonprofit that aims to communicate the effects of climate change. The researchers traced thirty-two more fire weather days per year in the Texas Panhandle from 1973 to 2022— one of the sharpest increases in the country. Over that time, the area saw sixty-two fire weather days” (Foxhall). From Foxhall’s article, these recent wildfires were waiting to happen. Wildfire season has become more intense and has affected the worst areas possible for wildfires to start. Many scientists believe that climate change has played a role in wildfires. While Texas is no stranger to hot temperatures and dry land, climate change has made conditions far worse than what Texas citizens are used to. With one fire only 15% contained, we seem far from the light at the end of the tunnel. There is a problem controlling the fires because of how quickly the fire has spread,, and the dry land has allowed the fires to become too large to contain. The lack of rain has allowed the fires to continue to grow. The more destruction is because of the dry land that has had little moisture from the rain so far this year. Mixing everything, it is a recipe for disaster. The weather reports show only a grim outlook for containing the wildfires and bringing relief to the Texas panhandle.

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