Western Wildfires Scorch 1 Million Acres, At Least 7 Lives Lost

March 9, 2017 12:00 PM

Wildfires are continuing to burn through Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas, charring more than 1 million acres of land and claiming the lives of at least seven people.

Nearly 500,000 acres burned are those in the Texas Panhandle have burned in recent days, fueled by an ample supply of dry grass and brush, low humidity and strong wind.

“It’s terrible, but it’s crossing the river too,” said Tony Briggs, a local resident. “That’s the first time we’ve ever had one that’s done that.”

A wildfire near Amarillo killed three people Monday trying to save cattle, including Cody Crockett, 20, and his girlfriend Sydney Wallace, 23. The third victim, Sloan Everett, 35, was found near the bodies of Crockett and Wallace, according to Fox 4 Kansas City.

At least 600 square miles, mostly in Clark Co., have burned in Kansas as powerful wind gusts have fanned the flames.

There are reports of significant cattle losses as entire ranches were engulfed.

“I was disking trying to get a fire guard, and I had less than three minutes,” said David Boseldon, a rancher. “That wind was blowing 60 [miles an hour] or more. I was lucky. I got in my pickup and was able to get out of there. Just that quick, everything is engulfed.”

In Oklahoma, the governor’s office says 300,000 acres in three counties alone have burned. A cold front on Friday is expected to bring some relief to firefighters.

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