Panhandle-area firefighters have spent the week battling a deadly trio of wildfires that flared up near Amarillo, Perryton and Lefors on Monday, and that had, at last report Tuesday morning, claimed four lives—including that of former Canadian resident Cade Koch—and burned almost half a million acres.
The fires, though separated by miles, all shared one common thread: they were propelled by strong, gusty winds, at sustained speeds of 25 to 35 mph, gusting as high as 50-55 mph, and grazed ravenously on plentiful dry fuels.
The Dumas Complex Fire near Amarillo was fully-contained by Tuesday morning after burning 28,800 acres. The Lefors East Fire in Gray County had consumed an estimated 135,000 acres and was 75 percent contained.
The Perryton Fire was easily the largest, estimated at 315,135 acres in size with only 60 percent containment Tuesday morning. It started in the southeast corner of Ochiltree County near the intersection of SH 70 and FM 281, leapt US 83 within minutes and spread quickly into Lipscomb County, blazing a trail from west to east, destroying barns and outbuildings, and threatening many residences along the way.
By early Monday evening, the fire was threatening the city of Higgins. . . .
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