The community of Jester Estates, located in Austin, TX, was recently recognized for becoming a Firewise Community in 2013. Nick Harrison, Firewise Coordinator for the Texas A&M Forest Service made the presentation. The community was provided with the NFPA Firewise Communities Plaque, Firewise street signs and a framed Texas Firewise flag during their Annual Homeowners Association meeting in February, members of the Firewise Committee and the Austin Fire Department Wildfire Division staff and residents were in attendance.
Image: Jester Estates Firewise Rocognition Ceremony with members of their Firewise Committee, the Austin Fire Department Wildfire Division, and Texas A&M Forest Service.
The recognition ceremony was also held during Jester Estates Annual Weeklong “30-feet for Fire Safety – 2014” event. This event is designed to get homeowners involved in protecting their home from wildfire. In order to participate (and get their yard waste picked up during this special event) residents must register their property and get a Wildfire Preparedness Assessment Completed. Of the 900 homes in Jester Estates, the Firewise Committee has performed HIZ Assessments on over 150 homes.
Jester Estates has held two community cleanup events in the past year, including this event, resulting in the removal of over 100 tons of defensible space slash. Several articles have been included in the neighborhood newsletter chronicling their community’s Firewise program since it began over a year ago.
Jester Estates has plans to participate in the Austin Firewise Alliance and is also supporting the May 3rd Wildfire Community Preparedness Day Workshop that is currently being planned in support of existing and potential Firewise Communities in the area.
According to Jeff Shapiro, Firewise Chair, “Jester is a wonderful community that is surrounded by the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, which adds tremendous beauty to our neighborhood and which our residents greatly value.” By becoming a Firewise community, we have acknowledged that:
- We are partners with the Balcones preserve
- We have an obligation to protect the preserve from fires that might start in our neighborhood
- We have an obligation to protect our homes and properties from fires that might start in the preserve.
“Becoming Firewise has also given us a unique and personal partnership with the City of Austin, and particularly the Austin Fire Department (AFD), the Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS), and the agencies responsible for protecting the Balcones preserve”, commented Mr. Shapiro.
Harry Evans, Chief of Staff, Austin Fire Department stated, “It is an honor to work with you (Jeff Shapiro and the Jester Estates Firewise Committee). Because of your leadership, you have set the standard. Jester is complicated because of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve and habitat, in addition to the vegetation and terrain. You have shown that in spite of all those challenges, a balance can be achieved to keep the environment and habitat, healthy and at the same time make your homes more ignition resistant. Well done sir… “
“It was really great to have you all in attendance this evening. Jester’s partnership with AFD and TFS is greatly valued by me personally and by the neighborhood as a whole. Celebrations don’t mean much unless there’s a group of friends to share it with, and having you all there made this a very memorable and special event,” said Jeff Shapiro, Jester Estates Firewise Chair.
Nick Harrison, (TFS) agrees, “Jester Estates has embraced the Firewise concept and has brought together a dynamic group to form its Firewise Committee and has rallied their residents to get involved to protect their homes and their community and also built cooperative partnerships with the preserve and wildland fire agencies.”
Story provided courtesy of Nick Harrison, Firewise Coordinator, Texas A&M Forest Service.