The Texas-Oklahoma wildfires of 2005–06 are a series of wildfires primarily in the states of Texas and Oklahoma that began November 27, 2005, and continue into April 2006. Surrounding states have also been affected to a lesser extent.
The fires were triggered by a combination of record high temperatures, drought, and high winds in the region. The situation has been exacerbated, at least in Texas, by plentiful rains in recent years. The rains encouraged vegetation growth, which then dried out over the winter drought leaving more potential fuel. The unusually dry conditions have been attributed to La Niña. At Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, only 0.36 inches (9.1 mm) of rain fell in the first two months of the year. As of January 1, fires continue to develop throughout the two states. On January 3, many of the fires were reported to be under control. But outbreaks continued through January, February, and March.
In Texas, 11 people were killed. Eight Texas towns were evacuated in March 2006. From December 26, 2005, to April 3, 2006, Texas suffered 11,048 wildfires which burned 4,903,851 acres (19,845 km2) and destroyed 423 homes. In Oklahoma, 869 homes were damaged; 300 of them were destroyed. As of April 5, 2006, there had been over 22,564 wildfires across the country in the year to date, burning 1,872,701 acres (7,579 km2).
The Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, has declared the entire state a disaster area and has called upon firefighters and fire equipment to combat the blazes. He has also described the state as a "tinderbox". In addition, the Governor of Oklahoma, Brad Henry, has also declared a disaster and has pleaded for federal aid. On January 10, the President declared several Oklahoma counties to be disaster areas; the list was amended to include 26 counties by late March.
Heavy rains in late March promised at least temporary relief to the affected areas. Governor Brad Henry lifted the burn ban (which had been instated in November) throughout Oklahoma on March 22, but reinstated it for most counties only 5 days later, on March 27. Much of Texas was also placed under a burn ban.