19 April 2024,   20:32
An explosive Texas fire more than doubles in size as it threatens towns and forces evacuations

A massive blaze that’s raging out of control is threatening Texas Panhandle towns and forcing residents to evacuate, writes CNN.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire, the largest wildfire burning in the region, has exploded to 200,000 acres since igniting Monday afternoon, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. The blaze, driven by gusty winds and fueled by dry, unseasonably warm conditions, is moving incredibly rapidly and remains 0% contained.

Evacuations were ordered early Tuesday afternoon for parts of Hemphill and Roberts counties as the fire encroached on populated areas. This includes the town of Canadian, Texas, around an hour and half northeast of Amarillo, Texas.

Parts of Fritch, Texas, which straddles Moore and Hutchinson counties to the north of Amarillo, are also under an evacuation order for a separate fire, city officials and the Texas A&M Forest Service said.

Around 100 people could be affected by the evacuation order, Moore County Emergency Management Coordinator Tommy brooks told CNN. A robust cold front is forecast to slice through the area Tuesday evening and will cause the wind direction to shift, which could force fires to spread in new directions.