Panhandle Wildfires Investigative Committee holds hearings in Pampas and hears testimony

PAMPA, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – An investigative committee has been formed to investigate recent events Devastating forest fires broke out for weeks According to the Texas State House of Representatives, the entire Texas Panhandle will meet in Pampa during the first week of April to hear testimony from the public about the causes and response to the wildfires.

Published public meeting notices described hearings will be held Tuesday through Thursday at the MK Brown Civic Center in Pampa, beginning at 8 a.m. each day.

The committee, chaired by Texas District 88 Representative Ken King, will hear and accept invited testimony public comments submitted electronically on several topics including:

  • Invited Testimony:
    • factors contributing to wildfires;
    • Allocation of resources and effectiveness of wildfire disaster preparedness and response; And
    • Coordination among local, state, and federal agencies regarding wildfire prevention, disaster preparedness, and response.
  • Electronic public comments:
    • factors contributing to wildfires;
    • allocation of government resources;
    • suggestions for mitigation strategies; And
    • Statement from the landowner.

The meeting notice detailed that Texas residents wanted to comment on the hearing’s agenda items can do that here.

As mentioned on, the five-member Panhandle Wildfires Investigative Committee will use the hearings to contribute to the report on its findings, which will be submitted by May 1st. The report is expected to include recommended legislative solutions to prevent future wildfires and improve disaster preparedness, response and mitigation.

This committee was formed following the damage caused by several long-lasting wildfires that broke out in the Texas Panhandle and High Plains region during the last week of February and the first weeks of March. This group This also included the “Smokehouse Creek” fire, what is now considered the largest wildfire in Texas history; when it was considered fully contained, as mentioned in previous reports, It had burned more than 1 million hectares of land and contributed to the deaths of at least two people Thousands of cattle.

After the fires, Texas A&M Forest Service investigators concluded that this was the case Both the Smokehouse Creek Fire and the neighboring Windy Deuce Fire were ignited by power lines. Xcel Energy confirmed in a statement that his equipment apparently started the Smokehouse Creek fire, and so did Xcel Energy and other utilities They are battling multiple wrongful death and negligence lawsuits filed against them in alleged connection with the forest fires.

The investigative hearings will be broadcast live in this article.

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