The wildfire raging across the Texas panhandle, dubbed the Smokehouse Creek Fire and officially the largest on record for the state, has doubled in size since earlier this week and burned through an area larger than the state of Rhode Island.

Xcel Energy, the utility operating in the area, is already looking at potential lawsuits over damages resulting from the wildfire.

The company on Thursday disclosed receipt of a letter that requested it to preserve a fallen utility pole of its local unit within the fire’s vicinity.

Below is a list of U.S. utility firms that have been sued in the recent past for their alleged role in wildfires.


Xcel Energy on Feb. 29 disclosed it had received a letter from a law firm stating the utility could be liable for damages resulting from the ongoing Texas wildfires.

Xcel also faces a lawsuit in Colorado, where the costliest wildfire on record in the state, the Marshall Fire, killed two people and destroyed nearly 1,100 homes in December 2021.


Hawaiian Electric is facing several civil lawsuits, including proposed class actions filed by Maui residents, property and business owners and a lawsuit by the county, over injuries, deaths and property damage caused by the devastating fires that destroyed the coastal town of Lahaina in August 2023.


The U.S. government has threatened to sue PacifiCorp, a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, to recover costs related to the 2020 wildfires in Oregon and California.

In January, an Oregon state jury ordered PacifiCorp to pay at least $62 million to nine homeowners whose properties were damaged by the 2020 blaze.

PacifiCorp also faces private lawsuits from thousands of homeowners and businesses concerning Oregon and California wildfires in 2020 and 2022.


The California Public Utilities Commission in January approved a $45 million settlement agreement between its Safety and Enforcement Division and PG&E over the 2021 Dixie wildfire.

For the Zogg fires in 2020, PG&E said it would pay $50 million to the local fire department, law enforcement, and Shasta county in California.

The company had filed for bankruptcy protection in 2019 after being blamed for a series of northern California wildfires in 2017 and 2018.


Southern California Edison, a unit of holding company Edison International, last month agreed to pay $80 million to cover costs and damages incurred by the U.S. Forest Service from the 2017 Thomas wildfire in California’s Los Padres National Forecast.

In September, the federal government sued Southern California Edison, seeking damages for the 2020 Bobcat Fire, which burned close to 180 square miles (466 sq km) in one of the largest wildfires ever in Los Angeles County.

(Reporting by Mrinalika Roy, Seher Dareen and Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)