Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been called out on social media for his alleged prioritization of matters concerning the U.S.-Mexico border above the historically destructive wildfires ravaging parts of his state.

Wildfires have been raging across the “Panhandle” region of Northern Texas, and into parts of Oklahoma, over the last week. As of Saturday, the fire had spread over 1,078,000 acres, with one of the fires in particular, the Smokehouse Creek Fire, becoming the largest in state history. By Friday, it was reported that around 15 percent of the fire had been contained, while between 400 and 500 structures were believed to have been destroyed.

In the midst of these historic natural disasters, Abbott, a Republican, has become the focus of heated criticism online, with many accusing him of putting more focus on matters involving the southern border than on his administration’s response to the fires. Abbott has, like many Republicans, characterized the recent influx of migrants crossing over the border as a “crisis” and has been butting heads with the federal government over who has authority to handle border matters. He also on Thursday accompanied leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump on a visit to the border.

“The largest wildfire in Texas history has already burned more than 1 million acres. Texans in the Panhandle are facing danger and devastation. Yet [Governor Abbott’s] response has been weak and slow,” Representative Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat, wrote in a series of posts on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday. “Many DPS troops & Guardsmen are deployed to Abbott’s political stunts in South Texas & unable to help. [Abbott] spent yesterday ignoring the fires for photo ops with Trump. His visit today comes after many have already fled from the wildfires. Abbott fails Texans every day.”

abbott criticism wildfires border
The Smokehouse Creek Wildfire in Northern Texas is seen on February 27. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has received criticism over his perceived focus on border issues over the state’s response to the wildfires.

Texas A&M Forest Service

“Hundreds of families have lost everything in the Texas devastating wildfire,” Sara Spector, a criminal defense attorney based in Texas, wrote in her own X post on Saturday. “This should have been the focus of Greg Abbott this week. But he spent it fear mongering on the Texas border, attacking President Biden and brown nosing for a vice presidency. He’s an impotent governor.”

“Rather than finding ways to support those who are struggling to survive one of our state’s worst wildfires, [Greg Abbott] and [Trump] were at the border this week further stoking fear of immigrants,” Nasir H. Malik, a Democratic candidate for the Texas State Senate, wrote in a x post. “Texans fear dying due to natural disasters, not a fake border crisis.”

Newsweek reached out to Abbott’s office via email on Sunday morning for comment. Any responses received will be added to this story in a later update.

On Friday, Abbott visited Borger, a Northern Texas city close to the wildfires, where he provided an update “on the state’s ongoing response to these historic wildfires,” pledging that his government would “continue to surge resources & personnel to protect Texans.”

In a Saturday post to X, he also urged residents near the fires to “remain vigilant & heed the guidance of local officials to keep yourself & your loved ones safe.”