WT Response to Texas Panhandle Wildfires

Our hearts break for the losses being suffered by individuals, families, and communities in the Texas Panhandle due to the wildfires. The challenges are impossible to describe. The help in response to these events from the Texas Department of Emergency Management and the Texas Forest Service, as well as local firefighters in counties and communities, has been immediate and, in every human way, remarkable. It is deeply appreciated by all.

At West Texas A&M University, we are aware of the complexities of the Texas Panhandle, the great geographic diversity within our region, and the differential impacts that occur due to weather and location. Fires, snowstorms, ice, rain, tornadoes, wind, and other natural or human events affect our widely dispersed populations and communities in different ways. It is the nature of the Panhandle. Many students, faculty, and staff in our region travel 60 miles or more to come to study or work on our campus.

With deepest conviction, if any disaster or event of any type, makes it unsafe for any student or employee of West Texas A&M University to come to study or work, do not come. Protect yourself and those you love. Look after people and property first.

WT students, if you cannot come to class, stay home. Attend to first priorities. Faculty will work with you. They are committed to serving you first. Students, if possible, contact your faculty. If the wildfires have directly impacted you, contact the vice president for student affairs, Dr. Chris Thomas, who can be reached at 806-651-2053 or

In addition, WT faculty and staff—the hands and feet of this excellent university—do not come to work when your loved ones or your property are in any way at risk or endangered. Stay home and attend to your first priorities. Your supervisors and others with whom you work will be understanding and assist in any way they can during trying times such as this. It, too, is the nature of the Panhandle. Faculty and staff, if possible, contact your supervisors.

I know that I speak for the whole Buffalo community when I say that our prayers and our hearts are bent toward those of you who are experiencing the tragedies that accompany wildfires. Our hearts and the communities they create will persevere.

Walter V. Wendler