Wildfires Strike the Panhandles


Aerial picture of a burn scar in Hartley County, Texas



Warm and dry conditions across the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles led to an outbreak of wildfires from April 9-10, 2011.  Below is a summary of the fires that occurred during this period:

  • The Hartley County fire started Saturday and continued to burn into Sunday. This fire burned 12,434 acres and had a perimeter of 27.84 miles.  The fire stayed over open land and while it came close to the town of Channing, it did not threaten any structures.
  • Another fire started Saturday in Potter County and spread into Moore County where it continued to burn into Sunday before being extinguished.  This fire was around 11 miles east of Masterson and did not threaten any structures.  Four firefighers were injured from this fire Saturday. Three of the fireman (2 Dumas Fire and 1 Cactus Fire) were taken to the Moore County Hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation and remain in good condition. The fourth, a Cactus fireman sustained burns and was airlifted to a burn center in Lubbock, TX. His condition presently is unknown; however, he was in stable condition when he left Dumas.
  • Two fires in Gray County Sunday

o   First fire was 3 miles west of Lefors, it burned 125 acres, and 4 structures were threatened but saved.

o   Second fire was near Highway 70 and Maddox Road and burned 50 acres.

  • A fire in Collingsworth County burned 400 acres and was located 8 miles south of Highway 203
  • Another fire burned 200 acres north of Wheeler on State Highway 83.
  • One fire located around 10 miles north of Boise City, OK burned at least 5 miles to the north and 5 miles to the east.  An approximate acreage for this fire is unknown at this time.  However, Highway 287 was closed between Springfield, CO to Stratford, TX. 
  • Another fire was located 14 miles northwest of Goodwell, OK.  This fire was extinguished and the acreage for this fire is unknown at this time. 
  • A fire was located north of White Deer, TX.
  • A fire was located between Stinnett and Borger, TX.
  • There was a fire located 6 miles south of Wheeler in Wheeler County, TX.
  • There was a fire south of Higgins in Hemphill County, TX.
  • A fire was located 8 miles west of Hereford, TX on Highway 60.
  • There was a fire in Hereford, TX.

The cause of the fires is currently unknown.  Texas DPS, Texas Forest Service, and the National Weather Service participated in an aerial damage assesment Monday April 11.  The survey team flew over the two largest fires, in Hartley and Moore Counties.  They were able to determine the acreage and perimeter size of the fires.  The exact acreage of the other fires will be determined at a later date.

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