Feb. 13, 2018 — GORDON, Texas — Two North Texas communities earn national recognition for cooperative wildfire mitigation efforts.

    The Lake Palo Pinto and 7R Ranch communities have earned the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise USA™ distinction.

    The recognition came after a cooperative effort with the Lake Palo Pinto Volunteer Fire Department, Lake Palo Pinto and 7R Ranch communities and Texas A&M Forest Service. The communities are two of five new Texas Firewise USA™ sites added in 2017. There are currently 85 active Firewise USA™  sites in Texas and more than 1,400 recognized sites across the nation.

    Since 2009, Palo Pinto County has experienced some of the worst wildfires in the state, including wildfires at Possum Kingdom in 2011 where more than 160 homes were destroyed and 117,000 acres burned.

     “The Firewise USA™ Program has greatly increased our residents’ awareness of the simple actions we can take to save our homes and property in the event of a wildfire,” said Community Firewise Liaison Richard Best. “Both 7R and Lake Palo Pinto are typical wildland urban interface communities where many of the residents come from an urban environment and are frequently unaware of what they can do to protect their homes in the wildland environment.  And it is working; our residents have greatly exceeded the risk mitigation goals we set out for 2017 by creating defensible space and removing potential fuel around their homes.” 

    A recognition ceremony was held Feb. 2 at the Lake Palo Pinto fire station. Residents and representatives from the Lake Palo Pinto and 7R Ranch communities, Lake Palo Pinto Volunteer Fire Department, Palo Pinto County and Texas A&M Forest Service attended.

     “It’s not a question of if, but when the next major wildfire will occur. Wildfires can happen anywhere and at any time,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Firewise Coordinator Nick Harrison. “NFPA’s Firewise USA™ Program teaches people how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together and take action now to prevent losses.”

    To be considered Firewise USA™, a community must obtain a wildfire risk assessment from a state forestry agency, form a Firewise USA™ committee or board, create a Firewise USA™ plan, conduct a Firewise USA™ community event and invest in local Firewise USA™  activities.

    For more information on how your community can receive the Firewise USA™ designation, visit or contact your local wildland urban interface specialist at

    Full size photo of awards