Texas requires utilities to plan for emergencies. That didn’t stop the Panhandle fires.

Experts say utilities need to be ready for extreme weather, which could be a challenge in a state where discussing climate change is often taboo.

By Emily Foxhall, The Texas TribuneMarch 12, 2024 9:45 am, ,

From The Texas Tribune:

Before it burned to a pile of ashes, Melanie McQuiddy’s house on the outskirts of Canadian was her family’s home base. Her daughter and grandchildren flocked there for holidays. At Christmastime, she put a tree in every room and transformed herself into “Mimi-Claus,” complete with a wig and red costume dress.

The family considered the home a place of joy, laughter and shenanigans, she said.

Now — after the state’s largest wildfire in history tore across a million acres in the Texas Panhandle — the house is gone. So is McQuiddy’s Steinway piano. Her christening gown. Her family Bible.

“We have those memories,” McQuiddy said, her voice straining with emotion. “I’ll rebuild again so that my family can return.”

Linemen work on repairing electrical lines near Stinnett on March. 1, 2024.
Justin Rex for The Texas Tribune

A broken power pole, partially covered by blowing dirt, near Canadian on March 2, 2024. With the rangeland scorched, the top layer of earth is left exposed.
REUTERS/Leah Millis

Left: A Baptist Southern Convention volunteer drives a Skid Steer to clear Melanie McQuiddy’s property. The fence posts are all that remain. Right: Melanie McQuiddy’s daughter Brooke holds a gold chain recovered from her mother’s property after the fire.
Mark Rogers for The Texas Tribune