Potter County fights fire and budget cuts

Richard Lake, Potter County Fire Chief
Richard Lake, Potter County Fire Chief

Angelina Perez
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, TX - Fire season seems to be hitting us a little earlier than normal this year.

A range fire started Tuesday afternoon after a spark from train tracks hit nearby grass.

Potter County's Fire Chief Richard Lake says the dry conditions and high winds forced the fire to spread to burn 75-acres of land, but their crews, along with Amarillo's Fire Department and the Texas Forest Service were able to put it out within 50-minutes.

Chief Lake says preparing for fires is a continuing process, so they try to stay up to date with equipment and training to meet the demands of fire season.

"In order to prepare for these its a continual, ongoing assessment of training and equipment needs, we're always trying to upgrade and better our equipment and at the same time, we are trying to develop new training and improve upon things that have happened in the past," said Lake.

Chief Lake adds with the decrease in Potter County's budget it is difficult to make these upgrades.

He says some of their trucks are older and not in the best of shape.

Numbers the Potter County Auditor gave us today show the fire department has used nearly 34-percent of their total budget for 2011's Fiscal Year.

Almost 50-percent of their budget for vehicle maintenance on parts and repairs.  

The report also shows the Potter County Fire Department has no proposed money in their budget for equipment purchases.