Energy company acknowledges role in Texas wildfire

Xcel Energy encouraging those affected by Smokehouse Creek Fire to file claims.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

March 7, 2024

2 Min Read
Texas A&M Forest Service

Xcel Energy has acknowledged that its facilities do appear to have been involved in an ignition of the Smokehouse Creek Fire, although it disputed claims that it acted negligently in maintaining and operating its infrastructure. The company said it has been cooperating with the investigations into the wildfires and has been conducting its own review.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire, now the largest wildfire in the history of the state, has burned 1.06 million acres. The Texas A&M Forest Service reported March 7 that the fire is now 74% contained.

“Our thoughts continue to be with the families and communities impacted by the wildfires in the Texas Panhandle. We are also grateful for the courageous first responders that have worked to fight the fires and help save lives and property,” the company stated. “As longstanding members of the west Texas community, we will continue to support our neighbors in this recovery, and we thank our frontline workers who have worked long hours over the past several days to restore electrical service to those who can receive power in the impacted areas.”

In addition to acknowledging its role, the company encouraged people who had property destroyed by or livestock lost in the Smokehouse Creek Fire to submit a claim to Xcel Energy through its claims process.

“We will review and respond to any such claims in an expeditious manner, with a priority on claims from any person that lost their home in the Smokehouse Creek fire,” the company said. A claim form and instructions for submission can be found by visiting and scrolling to the bottom righthand side of that page, to the "Claims Process" link under Customer Support Claims Services | Customer Support | Xcel Energy.

Xcel Energy noted that the Windy Deuce Fire reportedly impacted many structures in and around Fritch, Texas, but said that it does not believe that its facilities caused the ignition of that fire.

The company said it will continue to work with regulators and policymakers to evaluate the evolving nature of the wildfire risk and advance effective wildfire mitigation strategies to keep the public safe and its systems resilient.

“Xcel Energy, through our Southwestern Public Service Company (SPS) subsidiary, has operated in the Texas Panhandle for more than 100 years. The people in this region are our friends, neighbors and relatives. We are deeply saddened by the losses incurred in this community, and we are committed to supporting its renewal and recovery,” stated Bob Frenzel, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Xcel Energy.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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