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      Palisades community receives 'Firewise' certification

      T here's always the threat of wildfires in windy and dry conditions, but one Panhandle community is ready if anything should strike.

      T he Palisades community received an award only two communities have here in the Texas Panhandle for firewise safety.

      "F irewise communities is a program from the National Fire Protection Association. It's a national program., so they had to work through a series of requirements to become firewise," Nick Harrison of Texas A&M Forrest Service said.

      T o qualify for the certification, the community worked side-by-side with the Palisades Volunteer Fire Department to develop a long term fire plan. It also held educational days for residents and clean-up days; removing hazardous fire material away from homes. Altogether the community had to pass a series of five requirements.

      F ire Chief Dennis Massey said it's been a long time coming to be firewise certified.

      " B ack in 2011 we had the fires down here, we lost 27 homes." he said. "After that we had tried to get fire wise going before that, but with this fire, it got everybody's attention."

      T exas has 59 active firewise communities, but Palisades is only the second community in the Panhandle, besides Borger.

      " I n any community, if you don't have the citizens involved , i f you have catastrophe fire like we did in 2011, we don't have resources in the state to handle them, theres just too many homes to protect , " Harrison said.

      I t took the community nearly two years to become certified but without the help of the men at fire station 114, it would have been hard to do.

      " G oing door-to-door, we've asked the elderly, the ones that can't do work if they need assistance. Our volunteers have jumped in and helped with that, and we still have a lot of work to do." Massey said.