H-E-B, chairman Charles Butt to donate $1 million in wildfire recovery efforts for the Texas Panhandle

The Texas Panhandle is suffering through the state’s largest wildfire ever

As the Texas Panhandle continues to suffer through the largest wildfire in state history, H-E-B and its chairman announced Saturday they are pitching sizable donations to the affected area.

The company and its chairman, Charles Butt, are each contributing $500,000 to various causes connected to combating the wildfires in the panhandle. Butt’s $500,000 donation will go to the State of Texas Agricultural Relief Fund, or STAR Fund, according to a news release. The STAR Fund usually steps in the gaps for farmers, ranchers, producers and agribusiness owners when their businesses are affected by natural disasters.

H-E-B’s $500,000 donation will head towards “recovery efforts and nonprofits” responding to the wildfire, the company said.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire, which officially started burning Monday, is responsible for at least two people dead, dead cattle and homes burned to the ground, according to an Associated Press report. The Smokehouse Creek wildfire combined with another wildfire, causing the blaze’s affected area to expand to more than 1 million acres wide between northeastern portions of the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma.

With more windy weather expected in the panhandle on Saturday, crews on the ground anticipate more fires could emerge.

Texas Panhandle Update - March 2, 2024 - 10 a.m. Blue Team Operations Section Chief Mike Brod provides a morning briefing on fire activity and activities planned for the next operational period. The Southern Area Blue Team assumed management of the Smokehouse Creek Fire, Windy Deuce Fire, Grape Vine Creek Fire, on March 1, 2024, working in unified command with the Texas A&M Forest Service, the National Park Service, and local county judges. For information about active and recently contained wildfires, visit the Texas A&M Forest Service Incident Viewer: tfswildfires.com/public Frequent incident updates can be found on the Incident Information Twitter page: twitter.com/AllHazardsTFS For information about the Current Wildfire Situation visit: tfsweb.tamu.edu/CurrentSituation

Posted by Incident Information - Texas A&M Forest Service on Saturday, March 2, 2024

“Given the predicted critical weather, we do anticipate additional fire activity,” Southern Area Incident Management Team division supervisor and trainee Mike Brod said in a Facebook video posted Saturday to the Texas A&M Forest Service’s page. “We’re prioritizing our suppression efforts on the areas of highest concern.”

As for H-E-B, the company said it has already worked with the High Plains Food Bank in Amarillo, located approximately 65 miles from the Smokehouse Creek Fire, to provide “truckloads of product to the food bank, which include shelf-stable food, water, hygiene items, H-E-B Field & Future cleaning products, and other essentials.”

More coverage of wildfires in Texas on KSAT:

About the Author

Nate Kotisso joined KSAT as a digital journalist in 2024. He previously worked as a newspaper reporter in the Rio Grande Valley for more than two years and spent nearly three years as a digital producer at the CBS station in Oklahoma City.

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