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The State is ‘Burying its Head in Scorched Sand,’ Public Citizen says of ‘Incomplete’ TX House Panhandle Wildfires Report

An interim House committee was tasked with investigating the largest wildfire in state history

AUSTIN, Texas — Public Citizen called today’s report by the Texas House Investigative Committee on the Panhandle Wildfires “incomplete” because it fails to address climate change, which makes such fires more likely.

The late February fire killed three people and caused extensive damage. Over a million acres in the Texas panhandle were burned, the largest wildfire in state history. The committee was assigned several tasks, including determining contributing factors and how to prevent future fires.

Kaiba White, Public Citizen climate outreach and policy specialist, issued the following statement:

“Climate change makes disasters like the panhandle fires more likely and devastating. Yet this committee, whose mandate included making prevention recommendations, was silent on climate. It’s self-defeating for the state with the most billion-dollar weather and climate disasters to bury its head in scorched sand. This incomplete report mirrors a state Legislature that is more likely to protect fossil fuel corporations than acknowledge the reality of the climate crisis. Texans who have suffered from climate and weather disasters deserve leaders who are doing all they can to ensure past mistakes aren’t repeated. Texas leaders are failing to do that.”