Ranchers speak about wildfire in Texas session

Firefighters battle flames from the reignited Smokehouse Creek fire outside of Miami. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Sam Craft)

Two Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association leaders gave a voice to Texas ranchers and landowners during recent hearings held by the Texas House Investigative Committee on the Panhandle Wildfires. The hearings explored factors contributing to the largest wildfire in Texas history, the effectiveness of wildfire disaster preparedness and response and coordination between local, state and federal governmental entities.

Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association directors James Henderson and Joe Leathers both participated in the three-day event held in Pampa. Henderson, a rancher from Childress, was one of two public members appointed to the committee by Speaker Dade Phelan to serve alongside Chairman Ken King and Reps. Dustin Burrows and Todd Hunter.

Leathers, general manager for the 6666 Ranch and member of the TSCRA Executive Committee, was invited to testify on the impact of these fires on the ranching community. Throughout his testimony, Leathers noted the impact fires have on ranchers and landowners.

Findings from the investigative hearings will be published in a report set to be released in May.