New warning system could save lives during wildfires

Source: Yale Climate Connections


The biggest wildfire outside of Alaska in modern U.S. history recently tore a 100-mile-long, 20-mile-wide gash across the northeast Texas Panhandle and extreme western Oklahoma, destroying more than 500 structures and killing two people. Despite its horror, the fire served as a valuable test for a collaborative warning process that’s shaving precious minutes off the time needed to warn and evacuate residents.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire, which began on February 26, 2024, was declared fully contained on March 16 after burning 1,058,482 acres. A second fire just to the southwest, Windy Deuce, burned 144,045 acres. Both fires ranked as megafires (covering more than 100,000 acres), and both erupted after power lines were compromised by warm, dry winds gusting above 60 mph, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

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