Gov. Greg Abbott thanks first responders, local officials for response to Panhandle wildfires – CBS News

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/ CBS Texas
BORGER – Gov. Greg Abbott addressed Texans in a briefing Friday afternoon regarding wildfires in the Panhandle
The Smokehouse Creek Fire that broke out earlier this week has since extended to nearly 1.1 million acres, firefighters said Thursday, quickly becoming the “largest and most destructive” in state history. The historic blaze has now merged with another wildfire to stretch across a huge swath of the Panhandle.
“What we have observed…is the aggregate of persistence, prayer, resilience and an extraordinary response to those in danger,” Abbott said.
Abbott, who spoke from the Panhandle town of Borger, said there’s nothing left but ashes on the ground and hundreds of structures have been lost.          
Abbott said he wants to make a federal disaster declaration request once damages are accounted for.
As of Friday, the fire located in Hutchinson County was about 1.075 million acres and remained just 5% contained, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. Lampposts have been melted, power line posts are split in half and homes and properties have been reduced to charred remains. 
“This is now both the largest and most destructive fire in Texas history,” the West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department wrote on Facebook. “It is also the second largest wildfire in U.S. history.” 
Watch the full presser in the player above.
First published on March 1, 2024 / 9:36 AM CST
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