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US Power Firm Acknowledges Role in Texas' Largest Wildfire Ever

A major US power company, Xcel, has acknowledged the possibility that its equipment might have triggered the largest wildfire in Texas' history. The parent company of Southwest Public Service Company, responsible for providing electricity in parts of the state, stated that it is cooperating with investigations into the cause of the massive blaze that scorched over a million acres. Xcel Energy admitted that, based on current information, its facilities seem to have played a role in igniting the Smokehouse Creek fire.

The fire, fueled by strong winds on February 26, has resulted in significant destruction, including hundreds of homes and the loss of at least two lives and over 3,000 farm animals. Xcel Energy, now facing legal action, maintains that its equipment was not improperly maintained but encourages those affected by the fire to submit claims through its process.

Evidence reported by The Washington Post revealed that the Texas grid was under stress in the hours leading up to the fire. Whisker Labs, a company monitoring electricity supply grids, recorded 50 faults, typically associated with events like power lines toppling or coming into contact with trees—circumstances that can spark fires in dry areas. This incident is not unprecedented, as US power companies have been held responsible for destructive wildfires before. Last year, Hawaii's Maui county initiated legal action against the island's electricity provider over fires that devastated Lahaina, and in 2021, the Dixie fire in California began due to power lines owned by Pacific Gas and Electric touching a tree, reminiscent of the company's guilty plea to manslaughter charges in connection with the Camp fire a year earlier.

The incident highlights the challenges faced by aging US infrastructure, often ill-equipped to meet the growing demands placed on it.

March 8, 2024 12:54 p.m. 16605

#breakingnews #worldnews #headlines #topstories #globalUpdate #dxbnewsnetwork #dxbnews #dxbdnn #dxbnewsnetworkdnn XcelEnergy #TexasWildfire #SmokehouseCreekFire #WildfireInvestigation #PowerCompanyAccountability #InfrastructureChallenges #FireSafety

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