Firewise is making a difference in West Lake Hills and Versante Canyon both at Austin, Texas

Blog Post created by faithberry Employee on Aug 2, 2016

There is a great quote by Abraham Lincoln: "Determine that the thing can and shall be done and then we shallVersante Canyon.jpg find the way."  It is always amazing to me how Firewise Communities build such a collaborative effort between neighbors and partners as they work together to become more resilient from wildfire.  The most sustainable community efforts seem to be those that begin by working hard to develop an accurate assessment of their risks by engaging their local fire departments and land managing agencies having jurisdiction.  Once they have collaboratively determined what the risks are based on sound Firewise principles, they develop plans of action that address realistic steps that can be taken to lessen the risk.  Finally, they seem to see their risk through the eyes of shared ownership and together work to create safer communities.  Read the story of these two Firewise Communities on their journey to creating safer neighborhoods with working partnerships that make a difference.


West Lake Hills at Austin, Texas

West Lake Hills held a public meeting on Firewise Day. Topics discussed included Firewise defensible space recommendations, the Ready, Set, Go! Program, and tips on what the community can do to improve their survivability in case of a wildfire. Other topics included proposed tree trimming ordinances, and a water supply improvement plan for the District. Emergency managers used the meeting as a planning session, and presented a wildfire scenario with a discussion of how to provide better community information (PIO) during a wildfire.


West Lake Hills says, “The Firewise Communities program gave our community a blueprint and process to make decisions on improving the safety of the community. Combined efforts over several years have brought awareness and preparedness to the community, should a wildfire occur.”


Versante Canyon at Austin, Texas

Versante Canyon worked with many agencies, including Austin Fire Department Wildfire Division and Texas A&M Forest Service to become a Firewise Community. For Firewise Day, they held a public education event with mitigation techniques taught by the Fire Chief and Austin Fire Department. This was followed by a community clean-up day. Austin Fire Department Engine 39 participated in the clean-up day, and the community focused on reducing fuels in the common spaces.


Versante Canyon says, “The best defense against the dangers of wildland fires is educating your friends, family, and neighbors through material that makes the threat personal and real. Including area firefighters in the educational meetings motivates and inspires them to take the necessary actions to protect their homes and neighborhood.

                                                                                                                                                                               Picture of the Versante Firewise Community and local fire department submitted by the community