Do you describe your house as a little house in the woods? Does your house back up to a greenbelt or natural area? If you answered yes, or even sort of, then it’s time to get Firewise. A big part of making your property and our community Firewise is for each of us to learn more about how fires get started and travel, how best to prevent them from spreading, and by having a plan in place if there is a wildfire in your area. Through risk assessment, education, demonstration projects, and planning, we can all become Firewise and ultimately more resilient to fires.
Assessing Fire Risk
The assessment of your property and community’s wildfire risk is a key step in making a plan to reduce risk and increase resiliency to wildfires. Get started with the Homeowner Wildfire Assessment. Austin residents can call 3-1-1 and request a fire assessment of their property. Property owner/managers outside of Austin can contact the Central Texas region’s Firewise liaison, Will Boettner. Will is a Wildland Urban Interface Specialist with the Texas A&M Forest Service and can be contacted for a free assessment. He can be reached at (936) 241-2574, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Start learning about strategies you can take to make your home and neighborhood safer from wildfire. From the basics of defensible space and sound landscaping techniques to research on how homes ignite (and what you can do about it), there are tips, tools, and teachings you can use!
Get to work on making your property a Firewise demonstration site. Seeing Firewise principles in action is a great way to share the lessons you’ve learned with your friends, family, and neighbors. Best of all is that your property will be more resilient should a wildfire occur near your property. Get started now so you’re prepared before next year’s wildfire season by addressing priority landscaping and updates to your home.
Video on making your property Firewise (15:12)
Make a Plan, Make a Kit
Being prepared for an emergency is always a good bet. Ready and its Spanish language version Listo asks individuals to do three key things: (1) build an emergency supply kit, (2) make a family emergency plan, and (3) be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses. Ready also asks you to stay informed of emergencies by being tech ready. Enable text on your phone and sign up for FEMA alerts by texting PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA). Find free resources and get started on making your own plan at Ready.gov.
Stay Aware and Report Wildfires
If you saw a pillar of smoke rising from the forest or brush in your area would you know what information is needed for firefighters to get there and begin suppressing the fire? Check out Fire Break to learn more about how to effectively report wildfires. Visit the Texas A&M Forest Service to check the current wildfire risk on a given day.
Be A Firewise Ambassador
Share Firewise principles with your friends and neighbors:
Check out these great videos on fire preparedness and share them via your social media channels or hold a viewing in your home.
Order free brochures, posters, guidebooks, DVDs, apparel and more.
Subscribe to Fire Break, a free monthly newsletter from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Fire Break is devoted to keeping you up on the latest news and information on mitigating your wildfire risk. Subscribe today.
Article submitted by Leah Haynie, Environmental Protection Coordinator, Community Forestry Program, Urban Forest Division