As the summer months approach, Texas counties brace for another wildfire season. While scattered precipitation has helped, drought conditions persist in many counties. Fighting the massive fires of last year demonstrated the benefits of emergency preparedness training and preparation. However, an ounce of prevention continues to be worth more than a pound of cure.
At the initial meeting of the Texas Wildfire Prevention Task Force, appointed by Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, several suggestions were offered to help prevent a re-occurrence of the disastrous fires of 2011. Some of these included:
1) Urge homeowners to prepare their houses for the threat of fire through the clearing of combustible fuel and hardening their houses. The booklet “Ready, Set, Go” from the Texas Forest Service provides an excellent guide for homeowners.
2) Urge landowners to prepare fire breaks and clear brush on their property.
3) Train local firefighters on the use of backfires.
4) Prepare a County Hazard Mitigation Program. Grants are available through the Division of Emergency Management, Department of Public Safety.
5) Utilize prescribed burns to reduce fire risk. Information on prescribed burns, including a model County Burn Ban Order, and prescribed burn worksheets are available online at www.texasagriculture.gov (search “prescribed burn program”).
For more information, please call me at 1-800-733-0699.