Preparations Helped Oil and Gas Industry Get Through Dangerous Wildfires

March 20, 2024

There was good news this week when the Texas Forest Service announced dangerous wildfires in the Panhandle were finally 100% contained thanks to the tireless efforts of state and local emergency crews.

During the precarious situation the Railroad Commission and operators worked to ensure community safety, and to also ensure there were no major disruptions in oil and gas production.

Many operators in the Panhandle take precautions ahead of time to protect oil and gas leases from fire threats. That diligence includes mowing grass and treating weeds to keep fuels for fires off leases and well pads. The aerial picture below is a great depiction of how that type of careful maintenance worked at a lease in Carson County, where grassland around a well site burned but the fires did not affect the well in the middle of the picture.

Gas Well in Carson County, Texas Panhandle

Gas Well in Carson County, Texas Panhandle

RRC safety officers also joined the state’s coordinated response to the wildfires, manning the State Operations Center to be in direct contact with other emergency responders while maintaining communications with regulated entities in the Panhandle including gas utilities.

After releasing a public statement about our work on Feb. 28, the RRC also sent a notice to operators during the wildfire threat advising them of precautions they could take. 

The dangerous wildfires were the most recent example of how the RRC, in any given emergency, will act early and work with operators to protect the public and the environment, and minimize potential disruptions to production.  

About the Railroad Commission:
Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit