Wildfire moves from Texas Panhandle to Oklahoma and burns a million acres and leaves one dead


A million acres have been burned in the Texas Panhandle wildfires after they crossed over into western Oklahoma this week. One elderly woman was killed in the fires in Texas.

The Oklahoma Forestry Division stated Thursday that only 3% of the Smokehouse Road Fire in the two states had been contained and it burned 1,079,053 acres.

The fire crossed the state line into Oklahoma and forced the evacuation of the small towns of Durham and Crawford. It also turned into the second largest wildfire in state history. The fire in the Texas Panhandle had become the largest fire in Texas history.

As of Thursday morning, the Forestry Service listed 90,570 acres burned in the Catesby Fire in Ellis County and it was only 18% contained. The Slapout Fire in Beaver County in the Panhandle had burned 26,048 acres and was 22% under control by firefighters.

“I know of six families that have lost homes,” said Kelly Witchey Safety Director of Ellis County, according to News 9 TV News.

Oklahoma officials expected a reduce fire danger on Thursday with some precipitation chances with very light totals expected.


They had hoped the light rainfall might “offer opportunity to improve containment on the over 30 large wildfires currently on the Oklahoma landscape.” Rainfall totals were expected to be only 0.10 of an inch or less for most locations.

Otherwise, the Forestry Service expected “initial attack activity–to be light” on Thursday.

In the Texas Panhandle, an 83-year old woman was killed when the fast-moving wildfire burned her home in Hutchinson County. She was Joyce Blankenship.

“The house was gone,” her grandson, Nathan Blankenship, said. “There was no way she could’ve gotten out.”