Wildfires Affect Four Sixes Ranch in Texas

Wildfire devastation ‘a ghastly sight’

By Jay Coffin

UPDATED, March 7

Wildfires in the Texas Panhandle have been burning since Feb. 26, and although a large portion of the three biggest blazes now are contained, the true damage and devastation is just starting to be assessed.

According to a report in USA Today, officials in Texas have said that more than 3,600 cattle have died since the fires started and believe the number is expected to double, or even triple in the next few days.

“It’s a ghastly sight,” Texas Department of Agriculture commissioner Sid Miller told USA Today. “We’ve never seen anything like this.”

Miller said that 85 percent of the livestock in Texas is in the Panhandle and CNN, which cited the Department of Agriculture in Texas, estimated that the cattle business in Texas is worth $15.5 billion.

“Texas is cattle country,” president of the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Arthur Uhl told the Texas Tribune. “When you lose what I call a significant part of your cow herd, the supply goes down and prices go up.”

The Texas A&M Forest Service released updates Thursday: The Smokehouse Creek fire in Hutchinson County is 74 percent contained but has burned an estimated 1,059,570 acres; The Windy Deuce fire in Moore County is 89 percent contained and has burned 144,206 acres; The Grape Vine Creek fire in Gray County is 96 percent contained and has burned 34,882 acres.

Xcel Energy, a Minneapolis-based company that powers portions of eight states across the Midwest, admitted Thursday that its facilities played a role in starting the Smokehouse Creek Fire. “Xcel Energy has been cooperating with the investigations into the wildfires and has been conducting its own review,” a statement from the company read. “Based on currently available information, Xcel Energy acknowledges that its facilities appear to have been involved in an ignition of the Smokehouse Creek fire.”

Two deaths have been reported. A third was not directly linked to the fires but came Tuesday, when a volunteer fire chief in Fritch, Texas, was responding to a structure fire at a residence. However, Zeb Smith had worked tirelessly the previous nine days battling the blaze in his Panhandle city, located 35 miles north of Amarillo.

“Chief Smith, a dedicated public servant, was the first on the scene, demonstrating his unwavering commitment and service to the Fritch community. During the response, Chief Smith faced unforeseen challenges and, despite emergency medical assistance and quick transportation to Golden Plains Community Hospital, tragically succumbed to his injuries,” a statement said from Hutchinson County officials.


Wildfires continue to ravage the Texas Panhandle as state officials say they have burned over 1 million acres and destroyed more than 500 structures over the past week. The biggest of the wildfires has been named the Smokehouse Creek fire and is said to be five times the size of New York City. 

As of Sunday, only 15 percent of the blaze has been contained. More than 120 miles of electric lines have been destroyed. Two deaths have been reported. Officials estimate that thousands of cattle will die.

Four Sixes Ranch released a post on Instagram saying the fires have affected its division in Dixon Creek. The ranch, purchased three years ago by a group that included Taylor Sheridan, the co-creator of the acclaimed television series Yellowstone, said that the disaster has tightened the bond of all those in the area. 

The Four Sixes Ranch is more than just a ranch,” the post reads. “It is a family of three divisions: Guthrie, Frisco and Dixon Creek. Each Division has its own history within the ranch. But after the past three days, there is no doubt we are united as one.

“When the fires broke out in the Texas Panhandle near Dixon Creek, the cowboys from the other divisions joined forces with other ranchers, firefighters, and volunteers to fight the flames and save lives.” said General Manager Joe Leathers. “I cannot start to express how thankful we are for the courage and dedication of our ranch family and everyone involved in this effort. The fires have been a terrible ordeal, but they have also shown us the power of unity and generosity.” God bless Texas.”



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Four Sixes Ranch was featured in scenes from Seasons 4 and 5 of Yellowstone when Jefferson White’s character, Jimmy Hurdstrom, was shipped to 6666 Ranch so that he could learn how to become a true cowboy. A spinoff featuring the ranch is scheduled to start airing late in 2024.

The Dixon Creek Division is in Borger, Texas – in Hutchinson County – approximately 50 miles northeast of Amarillo. It spans 114,455 acres, according to a property listing when it was sold back in 2021.

We are heartbroken by the catastrophic fires that have swept across the Texas Panhandle, destroying homes, ranches, farms, livestock and wildlife,” another note from the Four Sixes Ranch said. “We feel a great admiration for the courageous firefighters who have risked their lives to contain the flames and protect the communities. They, along with everyone in the area who came together to help their neighbors or who have traveled to the area to help, are the true heroes of this disaster and are deserving of our utmost gratitude and respect.

Those looking to donate, send supplies or volunteer to help devastated communities can visit here to see a listing for all Texas Panhandle Wildfire Relief efforts.

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