Taking ‘Simple Steps’ Could Save Your Home From Wildfires, Forest Service Says
Texas A&M Forest Service today warned homeowners now is the time to prepare for periods of high fire activity.
Postfrontal conditions Wednesday may produce elevated fire weather in the Western Plains, Trans Pecos, and Hill Country.
The forest service is especially concerned about the potential for increased fire activity from Big Bend over to the Midland/Odessa area today and tomorrow.
Since Jan. 1, state and local resources have responded to 1,331 fires that burned a total of 47,402 acres. Aviation resources have flown 39 hours, dropping 4,530 gallons of water and retardant on Texas wildfires so far this year.
Homeowners across the state are urged to help prevent wildfires and take measures around homes that reduce wildfire risks.
“It is the responsibility of each individual resident to prepare their home for wildfires,” said Kari Hines, Texas A&M Forest Service Firewise coordinator. “Every year, there are hundreds of homes that survive wildfires unaided and allow firefighters to operate safely to protect them. And this is due to the landscaping and building choices made long before the fire ever started.”
Texas A&M Forest Service encourages Texans to take the following steps around their homes to to reduce the risk of wildfire:
- Create defensible space around a home to allow for low intensity, slow-burning conditions in the event of a wildfire.
- Within the first 30 feet of a home, use non-flammable landscaping materials. Within the first five feet, water plants, trees and mulch regularly, and consider xeriscaping if your area is affected by water restrictions.
- A healthy, well-maintained landscape is important to the survival of homes during a wildfire. Make sure plants are carefully spaced, low growing and free of resins, oils and waxes that burn easily.
- Remove dead vegetation from under the deck of a home and within 10 feet of the house.
- Prune trees six to 10 feet up from the ground.
“Even simple things such as moving flammable material away from wooden structures like decks and steps, pruning shrubs in front of windows and under mature trees and cleaning out gutters can be done with a limited amount of time if a fire is in the area,” Hines said.
People and their activities cause more than 90 percent of all wildfires in Texas, the forest service said.
The largest number of human-caused wildfires is a result of careless debris burning. Other causes of wildfires include sparks from welding and grinding equipment, carelessly discarded smoking materials, vehicles’ exhaust systems and arson.
For more information on how to create defensible space around your home, visit https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/ProtectYourHome/.
For current conditions and wildfire outlook, visit the Texas Fire Potential Outlook https://bit.ly/3kemhbG.