Borger's fire mitigation project

Borger's fire mitigation project

Borger, TX -  As the cooler seasons draw near, the vegetation growth in Borger will pose a significant wildfire threat.

"When we start getting our winter winds, it's not uncommon for 50 mph wind gust to starting coming in," said Borger's Emergency Management Coordinator Jason Whisler. "It's a direct threat to the houses in the community. So, we've been working on trying to get that in check."

Whisler says the city is aggressively taking on the challenge with fire mitigation projects.

"We cut out a lot of the mesquites and stuff that are within a 100 feet of the houses," said Whisler. "After we cut out the mesquites, we will come through with heavy machinery. We'll run brush hogs through it in some areas."

When it comes to burning more than 1,100 acres, the more manpower, the better -- so other departments are pitching in.

"The Hutchinson County Sheriff's Department has been great, they're letting us use some of their inmates," said Whisler.

The City of Borger also was able to hire a fire crew out of Arizona to help. The Arizona crew plans on staying in Borger for up to 60 days. The Texas Forrest Service is also lending a hand, they've brought machinery Borger doesn't have.

Once the region receives one or two hard freezes, the fire department will set controlled burns on the cut down areas. Whisler used last year's Double Diamond Fire in Fritch as an example to get a head start on wildfire prevention. He also says residents can do their part in protecting their homes.

"A lot of residents may not be aware that their obligated, it's their responsibility to take care of the weeds on their half of the ally," said Whisler.

The city's fire mitigation project is expected to be complete by the end of February. Additionally, the City is competing for a National Wild Land Fire Mitigation Award, hosted by several national fire associations.