Governor Activates State Resources To Help Combat Wildfires In Texas Panhandle

Panhandle wildfire smoke arrives in the Big Country with early morning cold front

Retiree Sheryl Stessen said she grabbed her cat and bolted from her apartment on the outskirts of Hutchinson when she saw the fire quickly go from looking like a puff of smoke to a big, orange ball.

In Clark County, about 30 structures have been damaged, including some homes, said Allison Kuhns, a spokeswoman for the county's emergency management office.

Deadly wildfires burning across four Plains states have almost doubled in size overnight, jumping from 625 square miles to more than 1,000.

Peet, the county's top administrator, said one of the three apparently died of smoke inhalation late Monday while the other two suffered severe burns and died while being taken to hospitals.

Spradlin estimates that the fire has burned just more than 155 square miles.

The other, the Dumas Complex fire, covers 25,000 acres and was 90% contained Tuesday evening.

The remains of a family farm destroyed by fire in Harper County, Oklahoma.

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Wildfires spread across larges swaths of northwestern Oklahoma Monday, leading to evacuation warnings for several towns.

This fire is now 75 percent contained. The biggest, the so-called Perryton fire, is 60 percent contained after burning 315,000 acres (127,500 hectares), according to the Texas A&M Forest Service, which tracks the blazes. A smaller fire to the west near Amarillo is fully contained.

As CNN reports, wildfires across the region consumed more than 1 million acres by Tuesday night and killed people five in Texas, one person in Oklahoma and one person in Kansas. Officials say they haven't been able to contain the fires at all as of Wednesday morning.

At least 10,000 residents in central Kansas were asked to evacuate their homes due to a wildfire in Reno County, where about 230 responders were on the scene, the county's emergency management agency said.

More than half of the blaze has burned in Clark and Comanche counties, both ranching and farming communities along the state's southern border with Oklahoma. Officials in Gray County and from the Forest Service confirmed that no known buildings were lost in the fires. A 63-year-old woman near Buffalo, Oklahoma, died from a heart attack as she tried to save her farm with her husband. The fires caused several firefighters to be injured as well, CNN reported. Around 150 homes were threatened by the fire that burned 290,000 acres.

In Kansas, wind-blown fires blazed in 21 counties over the course of Monday, with rural fire crews struggling to keep up, The Wichita Eagle reported.

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