by: Kristen Guilfoos
Amarillo, Texas - "You don't have to be a victim" is the message that's gaining the City of Borger national recognition.
Borger is now an official Firewise city... And it's the only city in America to earn such a distinction.
Today was a day nearly four years in the making for the City of Borger... Dating back to the wildfires of 2006. "It really probably was a wake up call."
Jan Amen with the Texas Forest Service says, "That particular week we burned almost a million acres in the Panhandle."
Borger Fire Chief Bob Watson says, "It changed our whole aspect as firefighters at least in our city as how we look at it, how we approach it, how we study it, and how we think about it, as well as how we attack a fire."
Part of that new way to attack wildfires is to become a Firewise city... Focused on what residents can do to make their homes less susceptible to wildfires.
Watson says, "Keep their yard mowed, keep their trash picked up, keep their gutters clean. What kind of windows to use, what kind of shingles, what kind of vegetation."
Hutchinson County Fire Marshal Garrett Spradling says, "Allows residents to get this assessments done in which the firefighters come in and say these are some areas that your home is at risk.
These are some steps that you can do to protect your home from the encroachment of wildfires."
As part of the program, the city itself will now be conducting controlled burns, aimed at eliminating the dry brush and trees that often fuel fires.