Southern Baptist Disaster Relief responds to historic Texas wildfires


PAMPA, Texas — Late February wildfires ravaging the Texas Panhandle continued to burn from northernmost Hutchinson County across the region, prompting Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott to issue a disaster declaration for 60 counties on Tuesday, Feb. 27, as the fires doubled in a single day.

Southern Baptists of Texas Disaster Relief crews immediately responded to the emergency and continue to do so.

The organization's quick response feeding unit headquartered in Pampa with a crew from the Top O’ Texas Baptist Association led by James Greer sprang into action Tuesday, setting up operations at the association office in Pampa to cook for first responders. After preparing lunches and dinners, most volunteers left for the evening to take care of their own places threatened during the emergency, Greer said.

Volunteers returned Wednesday as the Pampa feeding unit spent that day preparing meals, and its operations moved to Canadian, Texas.

“They’ve got hot chili dogs going out for lunch right now,” Scottie Stice, Southern Baptists of Texas Disaster Relief director, said at noon Wednesday.

Wednesday morning, Stice issued a call-up for Disaster Relief recovery units to be deployed to Canadian. The Pampa feeding unit is expected to continue its service and an additional unit will be activated, Stice said. Plans are in the works for an incident management team to deploy as well, with a command post to be established either in Canadian or Pampa. Chaplains and shower/laundry crews and units are also being activated.

“Our [feeding unit] and shower/laundry volunteers will support the expected 150 first responders who will be housed at First Baptist Pampa,” Stice said.

“At the moment, our energies will be directed toward Pampa and Canadian,” Stice noted, adding that as of Wednesday, as many as 100 homes have been reported burned in the Fritch area also.