Fast-Spreading Wildfires in Texas Panhandle Prompt Evacuations

Wildfires were spreading rapidly in Texas and Oklahoma on Wednesday, prompting evacuations and the closure of a plant that disassembles nuclear weapons.

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas issued a disaster declaration on Tuesday for 60 counties, activating state resources to help local firefighters. He urged residents to limit activities that could create sparks.

The largest current blaze in the Texas Panhandle is the Smokehouse Creek fire, which was ignited on Monday. By early Wednesday, it had spread quickly to at least 500,000 acres, fueled by strong winds and dry conditions, and was uncontrolled, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

That makes it the second largest in the state’s recorded history of wildfires, Erin O’Connor, a spokeswoman for the forest service, said on Wednesday. The largest was the Amarillo Complex in 2006, which scorched about a million acres.

The Smokehouse Creek fire “is a significant fire,” Ms. O’Connor said. “It looks alarming, how quickly it is spreading.”

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