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Out-of-control wildfire in Texas Panhandle shuts down nuclear facility, prompts evacuation orders

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-02-28 15:44

Smoke rises from a wildfire in a location given as Texas, US, in this handout picture released on Feb 27, 2024. Greenville Fire-Rescue/Handout via REUTERS

HOUSTON, the United States - An out-of-control wildfire in the Texas Panhandle, fueled by high winds and dry air since Monday afternoon, prompted evacuation orders in small towns and shut down a nuclear facility, according to media reports.

Pantex Plant, a major nuclear weapons facility in the United States, suspended its operation Tuesday night due to the raging wildfires.

The plant, located 21 miles (about 33.8 kilometers) east of Texas Panhandle's largest city Amarillo, assembles and disassembles the country's nuclear arsenal.

On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 60 counties in response to wildfires and said more counties could be added.

The governor warned that hot and dry conditions caused by high temperatures and windy conditions are expected to continue in the region in the coming days, raising fears that the wildfires may grow larger and more dangerous.

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