One day later, Panhandle wildfires
Tue, 01 Mar 2011 01:15:15 GMT —
Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011, a day many Panhandle residents won't soon forget.
That's because fierce wildfires blew through many parts of the area wreaking damage and destruction in its path. In Potter County alone, more than 61,000 acres burned and around 30 homes and one business were destroyed.Read more Updated fire information How you can help Pronews 7 aerial pics
While only one injury of a Deputy having smoke inhalation was reported, man's best friend fell victim to the fire's rage. Willow Creek Kennels was destroyed and several animals are still missing. Fortunately, more than 30 animals were saved.
52-year-old Austin Lynn Stephens was arrested after he was linked to allegedly starting the fire. He is charged with Criminal Trespassing. Authorities say Stephens was cutting metal on private property where the fire is believed to have started.
Fire and police departments have been out in full force throughout the Panhandle, something residents are very thankful for.
"This is determination that we have not only seen from our fire department, but our department out there is trying to make it as safe as possible for you guys," said Brian Thomas, Potter County Sheriff.
In Randall County, more than 20 homes were burned and some places, including Palisades, are still closed. The amount of acreage burned is not yet known as crews continue to evaluate the damage. A cause has not yet been determined.
As for power outages, Xcel Energy says it is working to restore power by Monday night.
Several other counties in the Panhandle also experienced grassfires including Hutchinson, Donley, Carson, Roberts, Armstrong, Parmer, Briscoe, Moore and Howard Counties.
As always, Panhandle residents are coming to the rescue. Pronews 7, along with other Amarillo media and Toot'n Totum have started a campaign dedicated to raising funds for those affected by Sunday's fires. You can donate to any Toot'n Totum location by cash or check until Sunday. 100 percent of those donations will go to the Red Cross.
Additionally, you can donate at Amarillo National Bank. It has already pledged to donate $25,000 to the cause.
How were you affected by the fires? Comment below and tell us! Also, vote in our web poll.