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Smokehouse Creek Fire now fully contained

After nearly three weeks, the Smokehouse Creek Fire is now fully contained, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service.

It is the largest and most destructive wildfire in Texas history, burning over 1 million acres.

The fire ignited on Feb. 26 in Hutchinson County, quickly spreading to neighboring counties and destroying homes and taking at least two lives.

Thousands of livestock were also lost to the fire, which was finally contained on Saturday, March 16.

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan created a legislative committee to investigate the wildfires to ensure the state is prepared for future disasters.

Five members will make up the Investigative Committee on the Panhandle Wildfires. Those include State Reps. Ken King of Canadian, Dustin Burrows of Lubbock and Todd Hunter of Corpus Christi.

According to published reports, Xcel Energy acknowledged in a statement on March 7 that its facilities appear to have been involved in an ignition of the Smokehouse Creek Fire. Xcel Energy, however, disputed claims in the same statement that the company acted negligently in maintaining and operating its infrastructure.

Xcel Energy encourages individuals who had property destroyed by or livestock lost in the Smokehouse Creek Fire to submit a claim to Xcel Energy through its claims process.

Wildfire relief efforts

The road to recovery for the Panhandle agricultural community will be long.

To help the farmers and ranchers impacted by the fires, TFB is accepting monetary donations to its Texas Panhandle Wildfire Relief Fund. Contributions are tax-deductible, and all funds collected will be distributed.

Texas farmers ranchers with an unreimbursed loss resulting from the wildfires may now apply for assistance from the relief fund.

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