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Nuclear weapons plant evacuated as Texas wildfire scorches more than 200,000 acres of land with 11 MILLION under ‘red flag warning’ for spontaneous blazes

Fast-moving wildfires in Texas, with 11 million people under a red flag warning, have shuttered a nuclear power plant as strong winds, dry grass and unseasonably warm temperatures fueled the blaze.

The main facility that assembles and disassembles the U.S. nuclear arsenal evacuated most of its personnel Tuesday evening in Texas as fires near the facility grew out of control.

Pantex released a statement online saying it has suspended operations until further notice.

“The fire at Pantex is not under control,” the company said. “The response efforts have shifted to evacuations. A small number of non-essential staff are housed on site.”

Since 1975, Pantex has been the nation’s primary assembly and disassembly site for the U.S. arsenal of atomic bombs. The last new bomb was assembled at this location in 1991. In the years that followed, Pantex also dismantled thousands of nuclear warheads.

Fast-moving wildfires in Texas, with 11 million people under a ‘red flag warning’, have shut down a nuclear facility as strong winds, dry grass and unseasonably warm temperatures fueled the blaze

Since 1975, Pantex has been the nation's primary assembly and disassembly site for the nation's arsenal of nuclear bombs.

Since 1975, Pantex has been the nation’s primary assembly and disassembly site for the nation’s arsenal of nuclear bombs.

The evacuation of the Pantex plant, 30 miles (48 km) east of Amarillo, comes as four active wildfires rage through Texas as crews work to contain the flames and citizens are ordered to evacuate.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire has burned more than 200,000 acres since Monday’s blaze and is zero percent contained, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

The towns of Canadian, Glazier and Higgins have issued evacuation orders for residents KVI.

“The Smokehouse Creek fire is being fueled by southwesterly winds up to 60 miles per hour and is spreading rapidly from east to northeast toward the town of Canadian, Texas,” said AccuWeather severe weather expert Dan Pearson.

“Between 3:30 PM CT and 4:30 PM CT, winds will shift behind a strong cold front and quickly change the direction the fire will spread.”

City officials from Fritch, Texas have also ordered evacuations due to a separate fire.

The Grape Vine Creek Fire has reached 30,000 acres and is 20 percent contained. The Windy Deuce Fire is 8,000 acres and 20 percent contained, and the Juliet Pass Fire is 2,963 acres and 90 percent contained.

Pantex released a statement online saying it has suspended operations until further notice

Pantex released a statement online saying it has suspended operations until further notice

The Smokehouse Creek Fire has burned more than 100,000 acres since igniting Monday and is zero percent contained

The Smokehouse Creek Fire has burned more than 100,000 acres since igniting Monday and is zero percent contained

Four active wildfires are blazing through the Texas Panhandle as crews work to contain the flames

Four active wildfires are blazing through the Texas Panhandle as crews work to contain the flames

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for more than 11 million Texans affected by the fires

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for more than 11 million Texans affected by the fires

Hansford County Office of Emergency Management said on Facebook: “The city is threatened by the fire and evacuations are underway from the Double Diamond area according to Judge Irwin Hutchinson County.”

“Judge Irwin personally thanked Hansford County for sending resources to help! A disaster declaration is ordered! Other evacuations in our area are as follows: Canadians have been urged to evacuate, as have residents of the North River in Roberts Province.”

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for more than 11 million Texans affected by the fires.

Warm temperatures in combination with gusty winds and dry conditions were the reason for the warning, according to him Fox West Texas.

The red flag warning is in effect from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and critical fire conditions are expected to affect the northwestern Concho Valley and most of the Big Country. The strong westerly wind can reach speeds of 35 to 45 km/h with gusts of up to 65 km/h.

“Critical fire conditions continue tonight across the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles due to strong westerly winds,” the weather service said.

The National Weather Service has advised people to avoid outdoor activities that could create open flames or sparks.

Nim Kidd, head of Texas Emergency Management, said on Twitter: “Firefighting is going to be tough today.”

The red flag warning is in effect from 11am to 8pm and critical fire conditions are forecast

The red flag warning is in effect from 11am to 8pm and critical fire conditions are forecast

The towns of Canadian, Glazier and Higgins have issued evacuation orders for residents

The towns of Canadian, Glazier and Higgins have issued evacuation orders for residents

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‘We are sending additional resources to the area. Beware of fire trucks and heavy equipment. Be ready to evacuate if ordered to do so by local officials.”

The Texas A&M Forest Service said Monday it responded to 13 wildfires covering 77,135 acres.

“Several large wildfires ignited under warm, dry and windy conditions in the Texas Panhandle. Today, strong winds are likely to impact these wildfires and the potential for new ignitions remains,” the agency said on Twitter.

AccuWeather meteorologist Dan DePodwin said, “Strong winds impacting fires in the Texas Panhandle are expected to continue Tuesday evening before decreasing to 15 to 25 miles per hour after midnight.”

‘Winds on Wednesday are expected to be between 10 and 20 miles per hour, which will be much calmer than Tuesday. This should help with firefighting.”