Xcel Energy Facilities Could Have Initiated The Largest Wildfire Of Texas: Report

by | Mar 8, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » Xcel Energy Facilities Could Have Initiated The Largest Wildfire Of Texas: Report


Xcel Energy, a key utility provider, has acknowledged the potential role of its facilities in the ignition of the largest wildfire of the Texas Panhandle. The company’s statement on Thursday hinted at its involvement in the blaze, which has been raging since last month.

The Texas A&M Forest Service, tasked with probing the wildfire’s origins, revealed findings linking the Smokehouse Creek Fire, the largest in the state’s history, to downed power lines. While the forest service did not explicitly implicate Xcel Energy, the inquiry’s outcome raises questions about the utility’s potential liability in the devastating incident.

largest wildfire of Texas

The Smokehouse Creek Fire, the largest wildfire of Texas has surpassed the 1-million-acre mark, claiming two lives and destroying an estimated 500 structures. Despite containment efforts, the blaze remains a significant threat, with adjacent fires continuing to burn.

A lawsuit submitted on Friday in Hemphill County claimed that a fire ignited near the town of Stinnett on Feb. 26 due to a downed power line. Filed on behalf of Stinnett homeowner Melanie McQuiddy against Xcel Energy Services Inc. and two other utilities, the lawsuit asserted that the fire originated “when a wooden pole defendant failed to properly inspect, maintain and replace, splintered and snapped off at its base.”

Dale Smith, the operator of a large cattle ranch east of Stinnett, reported an estimated loss of 30 to 50 head of cattle out of the 3,000 grazing on his property.

Xcel Energy has committed to expediting claims processes and prioritizing those who have lost their homes. This incident adds to a trend of utility companies facing scrutiny over their role in sparking wildfires, emphasizing the need for enhanced vigilance and accountability within the sector.

As investigations continue, the focus is on understanding the events leading to the wildfire’s inception and addressing broader implications for prevention and response strategies. The resilience of affected communities and collective efforts in response to the crisis underscores the imperative of proactive risk management and support for rebuilding efforts.

Also Read: Smokehouse Creek Fire In Texas Continues, Kills 2 & Destroys Over 500 Structures


  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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