Borger nationally recognized for wildfire preparedness

Borger nationally recognized for wildfire preparedness

BORGER, TX (KFDA) - One area city has become a national example of how to prepare for wildfire threats.

Borger was selected to win the 2017 Wildfire Mitigation Award for its community engagement, education programs and outreach to other agencies in an attempt to prevent wildfire threats in several areas around the city and county.

Borger was one of 14 organizations to receive this award this year, and one of two in Texas.

This is not the first time Borger has been an example of how to prevent. potential wildfires.

But this new award is the highest national honor that can be awarded for wildfire preparedness.

"Because Borger isn't as big of a city as some of the other metros, for us to have won this award being such a small community...," said Jason Whisler, Emergency Management Coordinator for the City of Borger. "We really hope that this is something that we can use to get other communities involved in to think about what they can do for mitigation."

Whisler said, according to a recent survey, wildfires are what people in Borger are least concerned about when it comes to safety hazards.

Citizens who actively do their part to keep their yards trimmed and trash contained are part of why Borger's program works.

"Periodically if we have big projects we'll get off-duty personnel to come in, we use our inmates to help do this to offset the cost of man hours," said Whisler. "There's a lot of options that people can do. It doesn't have to be as grand of a scale to where we've got a black line of defensible space all around the city. Communities can start small."

The Borger Fire Department is working with the Amarillo and Pampa fire departments on their prescribed burn and wildfire prep programs to help better protect the entire panhandle.

But they hope to reach out to smaller communities which have struggled with fires in the past.

"It's not why are we doing it, it's why aren't they," said Whisler. "These preventable acts of destruction that we actually can control the outcome of these wildfires in our community."

Whisler wants to remind people that wildfires don't just start in fields - many start within city limits.

Vacant lots are particularly susceptible to catch fire.

He said to make sure your property is well kept so it doesn't become fuel for a fire.

Copyright 2017 KFDA. All rights reserved.