July 24th, 2024

Utility provider Xcel Energy says its facilities appeared to have role in igniting Texas wildfire

By The Associated Press on March 7, 2024.

A helicopter carries a bucket as it flies over homes burned by the Smokehouse Creek Fire, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, in Canadian, Texas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

CANADIAN, Texas (AP) – The utility provider Xcel Energy said Thursday that its facilities appeared have played a role in igniting a massive wildfire in the Texas Panhandle that grew to the largest blaze in state history.

Texas officials have said they are is still investigating the cause of the fire that has burned nearly 1,700 square miles and destroyed hundreds of structures. The Minnesota-based company said in a statement that it disputes claims that “it acted negligently” in maintaining and operating infrastructure.

“Based on currently available information, Xcel Energy acknowledges that its facilities appear to have been involved in an ignition of the Smokehouse Creek fire,” the company said in a statement.

The fire was among a cluster of fires that ignited in the rural Panhandle last week and prompted evacuation orders in a handful of small communities.

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