Xcel Energy power pole suspected cause of million acre fires in Oklahoma and Texas

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Only about 15% of the wildfire that burned more than 1 million acres of land in the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma is under control as state officials call for an investigation into what caused the fires.

One belief is a downed power line caused the blaze and attorneys for one land owner has filed suit. Even the Securities and Exchange Commission has become involved as a recent filing asked the Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy to preserve a fallen utility pole where the Smokehouse Creek Fire might have started reported The Texas Tribune.

A lawsuit was filed last week in Hemphill County against Excel Energy by homeowner Melanie McQuiddy who claimed a splintered power pole started the fire when it fell. Another suit is coming according to multimillionaire trader Salem Abraham. The Tribune reported he plans to sue Xcel and Osmose Utility Services over the Xcel power pole claiming damages to his ranch.

Fire officials report that 75% of the Smokehouse Road Fire that crossed the state line into Ellis and Roger Mills counties is 75% under control on the Oklahoma side.

The Oklahoma Forestry Division also reported Monday morning that the more than 26-thousand acre Slapout Fire in Beaver County is 80% contained.

Fire Activity with OFS Response outside of the Protection Area: 2 New Fires Burned 933 Acres
• Un-named Yet (Okmulgee County) – 900 Acres (est.)
• Catesby Fire (Ellis County) – 90,920 (+350) Acres Est. / 42% Contained
• Slapout Fire (Beaver County) – 26,048 Acres Est. / 80% Contained
• ***Smokehouse Road Fire (Texas / Oklahoma) – 1,078,086 Acres
o OK Smokehouse (Ellis/Roger Mills Counties) – 31,596 Acres / 75% Contained

The Forestry Division reported dry conditions still persist and as a result, there remain high fire dangers, especially in the western part of the state.

The fires in western Oklahoma and the Panhandle burned at least 13 homes, nine in Ellis County, one in Roger Mills County and three in Beaver County.

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