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In Texas’ Largest Fire, a Race to Save Animals Big and Small

U.S.In Texas’ Largest Fire, a Race to Save Animals Big and Small

Horses with singed tails and bellies licked by flames. Cows whose hides are spotted with burns. A baby goat, just two weeks old, orphaned by the blaze.

These are the scenes that emergency veterinarians and volunteers are finding as they traverse the wide-open fields of the Texas Panhandle, trying to save what animals they can and ease the suffering of many others. Their cases in recent days show the devastating effects that the state’s largest-ever fire — still burning — has wrought on a region where a person’s wealth can often be measured in herd size and acreage.

“Lots of burns,” said Dr. Laurie Shelton, a veterinarian who is part of Texas A&M’s Veterinary Emergency Team and among those who sprang into action after the Smokehouse Creek fire ignited last week. “It’s just tough. It’s a rough deal.”

The Smokehouse Creek blaze is one of several major wildfires burning across the Texas Panhandle that were still difficult to contain over the weekend as dry, windy weather led to warnings of increased fire risk across the region.

Much of the town of Sanford, population 132, was urged to evacuate Sunday evening when yet another new fire burned about 300 acres and threatened homes before being brought under control.

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