Firewise Communities have learned that improvements need to be made to the home and the landscape immediately surrounding the home to give homes a fighting chance in the event of a wildland fire. This one-two punch helps homes to better be able to survive, especially when fire department resources are stressed due to large fire incidents. Read their stories and learn how you can emulate their success. NFPA’s Firewise program offers many no cost resources that will provide you with science-based guidance to make changes to your property to become more resilient in the event of a wildland fire.
Travis Country at Austin, Texas
On Firewise Day, the Travis Country Firewise Committee held a community meeting. Representatives of the Texas Forest Service, Austin Fire Department, and the City of Austin’s Wildland Division presented information on hardening homes and defensible space and answered residents’ questions.
Travis country tells us, “Our regional firefighters and land managers shared with residents the importance of “hardening our homes” and creating shaded fuel breaks along the wildland urban interface. They addressed residents’ concerns about standing dead cedar and described how to properly reduce fuels in our greenbelt. We continue to enjoy a close partnership, and have more activities planned for the future.”
Canyon Springs at Hunt, Texas
On Firewise Day, the Canyon Springs Homeowners Association held its annual meeting, which featured a talk on the importance of defensible space in protecting homes from wildfire, and how to create and maintain defensible space. This was followed up with a Firewise clean-up day. Owners were asked to haul brush to the curb, and the community rented a chipper to dispose of limbs and branches.
Canyon Springs tells us, “The Firewise Communities Program and training has been a major incentive for Canyon Springs Ranch owners to remove “down and dead” fuels, standing dead trees, ladder fuels, and leaves, and create defensible space around homes. The land surrounding the homes looks much healthier and the risk of catastrophic loss of homes due to fire is diminished. We have Mountain Juniper and Scrub Oak everywhere, and they crowd out the larger trees and create a nightmare fire situation. The small dry fuels cause very rapid fire spread and impossible access. We remove downed, dead, ladder fuels, and small cedars to allow a canopy/shaded fuel break, and create large firebreaks wherever needed. Most of this is accomplished by the owners, sometimes assisted by Firewise volunteers and a rented chipper.”
Picture of Canyon City residents chipping wood debris submitted by the community