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PREPARING FOR WILDFIRES
  • PREPARE FOR WILDFIRES: PROTECT YOUR COMMUNITY

    The expanding threat of wildfires to Texas communities is a result of the state’s ever changing land use, climate and population. Many Texas communities are within or are growing into the Wildland Urban Interface. The WUI is an area where flammable homes are mixed with flammable vegetation. 

     
     
    Community leaders such as city managers/planners, fire chiefs, emergency management coordinators and home owner associations, with the assistance of a local Texas A&M Forest Service WUI Specialist, can implement community wildfire preparedness plans and programs to help your community withstand the next wildfire event.

     

     Aerial view of Double Diamond Wildfire

     

    Texas Communities Affected by Wildfire

     
    The question is not if a wildfire will occur within your community, it’s when. Over the past several decades, various Texas communities have lost numerous homes, businesses, commercial crops, livestock and human lives. Below are just some of the communities affected by past wildfires.
     
    • 1996: The Poolville Fire in North Texas, about 35 miles northwest of Fort Worth, resulted in the loss of 65 homes and 52 injuries. 
    • 2005: The Cross Plains Fire (PDF, 5MB) on the northern plains of Texas spread rapidly destroying 85 homes and causing two fatalities.
    • The historic 2011 Wildfire Season (PDF, 38MB) affected every corner of Texas. The Bastrop Complex Fire in Central Texas is the most destructive in Texas history with 1,660 homes lost and two fatalities. 
    • 2011: The Bear Creek Fire of Northeast Texas, the largest wildfire to ever occur in East Texas, destroyed 66 homes. The Riley Road Fire in Southeast Texas destroyed 73 homes. 
    • 2014: The Double Diamond Fire in the Texas Panhandle community of Fritch, 30 miles north of Amarillo, was ravaged by a wildfire that destroyed 225 homes in 14 hours.
     

    Protecting Your Community

     
    Wildfires do not need to be tens of thousands of acres to threaten your community. A wildfire of 100 acres or less can be just as destructive as a large wildfire. The Steiner Ranch Fire (2011) was only 125 acres, but destroyed 20 homes in Travis County. 
     
    Fortunately, your local TFS WUI Specialist can work with your community to establish a suitable Community Wildfire Protection Plan (PDF, 22MB) or implement wildfire preparedness programs like "Ready, Set, Go!" and Firewise Communities
     
    WUI Specialists can also help train community leaders to complete wildfire risk assessments and use the Texas Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal to reach a community’s wildfire preparedness goals.

     


     + Community Wildfire Protection Plan

    CWPPs are designed from a collaboration of local government, fire departments and TFS WUI specialists to identify wildfire risks and create protection and mitigation strategies. A plan can be as simple or complex as the needs of the community. CWPPs are authorized by the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003.

    College Station CWPP Working Group

    When developing a CWPP, WUI specialists along with community leaders work to: 

     

    • Identify projects to reduce ignition sources around structures
    • Address treatment of structural ignitability
    • Identify local capacity building and training needs
    • Promote wildfire awareness programs

    CWPP response zone 5 college station

     

    A CWPP can be completed at the county or community level. Review the Leader's Guide (PDF, 2MB)and CWPP Guide (PDF, 22MB)for help creating an effective plan to reduce the wildfire risk to homes, businesses and natural resources in your community.

    Risk Assessment of a community

     Completed CWPP's

    To view an example of a completed CWPP, please see the City of Bryan's Community Wildfire Protection Plan (PDF, 138MB).


    To begin your Community Wildfire Protection Plan, contact your local WUI Specialist today.

     

     + “Ready, Set, Go!”

    The International Association of Fire Chiefs launched the "Ready, Set, Go!" program nationally in 2011. Texas is very active with nearly 400 members. 

     
    “Ready, Set, Go!” is administered at the fire department level. The program helps your community learn how to protect homes ahead of time, stay abreast of current fire dangers and evacuate safely if a wildfire is bearing down on your community. It's based on a three-prong approach:  

     

    • Ready: Your home and family should be ready long before a wildfire ignites. Creating defensible space through proper landscaping techniques (PDF, 13MB) and using fire resistant building materials (PDF, 2MB) designed to withstand a wildfire are part of this step.
    • Set: When a wildfire is headed your way, it’s time to start preparing to leave. Alert your family and friends. Stay tuned to news reports. Grab your emergency kit, and be ready to head out at a moment’s notice. Make sure you know where you're going and what you're taking with you. The American Red Cross can provide shelter and basic necessities during a disaster and can help you get back on your feet after it's over.
    • Go! Once the fire is bearing down on you, there is often nothing you can do but get out of its way. At this point, it’s time to go!

     

    Don't wait. Evacuate early and you're more likely to avoid being caught in traffic jams or worse—trapped by smoke and fire.
     
    RSG_Members_01262016
    Don’t wait! Create your family’s “Ready, Set, Go!” Wildfire Action Plan today!
     
    Contact your local WUI Specialist to register your fire department with “Ready, Set, Go!”

     

     + Firewise Communities

    The Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program is aimed at small communities, community associations and master planned communities and is sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association.

    The goal is to assess the wildfire risk and create a network of cooperating homeowners and organizations within a community and a community’s fire department. Texas is home to over 60 active Firewise Communities. 

    Eagle Landing Firewise Community

    Being recognized as a Firewise Community requires that the community has an on-going commitment toward mitigating wildfire hazards within their community.

    To become a Firewise Community the following steps must be completed:

    • Enlist a WUI Specialist to complete a community assessment and create a plan that identifies agreed-upon achievable solutions to be implemented by the community.
    • Sponsor a local Firewise task force which maintains the Firewise Community/USA program and tracks its progress or status.
    • Observe a Firewise Communities/USA Day annually that is dedicated to a local Firewise project.
    • Invest a minimum of $2 per capita annually in local Firewise projects. (Work by municipal employees or volunteers using municipal and other equipment can be included, as can state/federal grants dedicated to that purpose.)
    • Submit an annual report to Firewise Communities/USA that documents continuing compliance with the program.
    Etoile Firewise project

    01292016_firewisecomms

    To learn more about the Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program, contact your local Wildland Urban Interface Specialist today.

     + Fire Adapted Communities

    Wildfires will occur where people live—it’s not if, but when. And when a community hasn’t prepared, the economic, social and environmental consequences can be far-reaching. Taking the right steps in advance can minimize damage to homes and property, increase public safety, protect infrastructure and businesses, save millions of dollars and ensure future tourism and local recreation opportunities.

    Implementing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, or a program like "Ready, Set, Go!" and Firewise Communities/USA in your community is the best way for your community to become fire adapted.

    To learn more about joining the Fire Adapted Communities initiative, contact your local Wildland Urban Interface Specialist today.

     + Community Protection Program Prescribed Fire Grant

    2015 Prescribed Fire Grant Application is now available

    Scope of Project:

    Reduce the hazard of high-risk fuels on private lands through the use of prescribed burning. Treatment area will be within 10 miles of a National Forest boundary. The grant's goal is to protect high-risk communities and associated forest resources by reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire on private and public lands. Priority will be given to projects that meet both criteria.

    Texas A & M Forest Service 2015/2016 CPP RX Burn Recipients/Sub-Recipients

    County

     Acres

     

     

     

     

    1

    Pine Island Partners

    Angelina

    151

    2

    HSH Highway 103 E, L.L.C.

    Angelina

    200

    3

    Elvin Lowery

    Angelina

    166

    4

    John R. Winston III Family Corp.

    Angelina

    215

    5

    Circle T Land & Timber

    Angelina

    96

    6

    LGI Properties

    Angelina

    221.8

    7

    James Pyle

    Angelina

    325

    8

    LAWM, Inc.

    Nacogdoches

    85

    9

    Jon & Patty Short

    Walker

    79

    10

    CS&W Timber Partners, Ltd.

    Angelina

    125

    11

    James Rick Martin

    San Augustine

    212

    12

    Jimmy L. Ford

    Houston

    107

    13

    Baker 2006 Descendants Trust

    Houston

    215

    14

    Lewis R. Fair

    Angelina

    33

    15

    Eberts Ranch L.P.

    Houston

    115

    16

    2 Sooners, LP  - Johnny Higdon

    San Jacinto

    312

    17

    W B Wood Investments

    Montgomery

    74.1

    18

    Crown Pine Timber 1

    Angelina

    216

    19

    Gibson Family Partnership

    Trinity

    20

    20

    Fair Brothers Properties & Services LLC

    Trinity

    65

    21

    Brushy Creek Timber XI,  L.P.

    Cherokee

    50

    22

    Kevin Fontenot

    Sabine

    239

    23

    Mike Davis

    Angelina

    75

    24

    Voyager Group LTD

    Walker

    92

    25

    Winston Land & Cattle I Ltd

    Angelina

    85

    26

    Tony Davidson

    Angelina

    56

    27

    Justin Penick

    Angelina

    42

    28

    Jason Wells

    San Augustine

    115

    29

    Mollie Ethington

    San Augustine

    137

    30

    Terry Morgan

    Angelina

    124.4

    31

    Allen Loggins Jr.

    Angelina

    656

    32

    Patton Timber & Investments

    San Augustine

    170

    33

    Halbert Trust - Joel Halbert

    San Augustine

    201.4

    34

    Haley Fairway Farm

    San Augustine

    150.5

    35

    Ronald A King

    Angelina

    54

    36

    Buck Bay Timber, Ltd

    San Augustine

    218

    37

    Janet Tisdale Peterson

    San Augustine

    140

    38

    Spring Creek Country Club

    Houston

    228

    39

    Alders Enterprises, Ltd

    Angelina

    261

    40

    Crest Natural Resources

    San Augustine

    51

    41

    Travis M Guinn

    Angelina

    40

    42

    Williams River Farm LP

    San Augustine

    45

    43

    Flournoy-Voss Timber Holdings

    Angelina

    123

    44

    S & S Farms

    Walker

    260

    45

    Olen C Francis

    Nacogdoches

    138

    46

    Roy R. & June E. Hicks

    Jasper

    65

    47

    James S. Carter Sr. Family Trust

    Sabine

    970

    48

    B K Shergill LLC

    San Jacinto

    419

    49

    Janey Williams-Wood

    San Jacinto

    419

    50

    Cherches Wild Things

    San Jacinto

    134.6

    Total Acres Funded

    8791.8


    Detailed Map of the Sam Houston National Forest Communities

    Detailed Map of the Davy Crockett National Forest Communities

    Detailed Map of the Angelina National Forest Communities

    Detailed Map of the Sabine National Forest Communities

     

    Grant recipients will be reimbursed actual costs associated with conducting the prescribed burn. The maximum reimbursement rate will not exceed $30 per acre. Upon completion of the prescribed burn, the landowner will provide an invoice indicating work performed to Texas A&M Forest Service. After inspection by TFS personnel, the landowner will be reimbursed up to $30 per acre.

    2015 Community Wildfire Protection Grant Final Summary Report

    2014 Community Wildfire Protection Grant Final Summary Report

    2013 Community Wildfire Protection Grant Final Summary Report

     + Texas Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal

    The Texas Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal is an online, user-friendly, statewide planning tool that provides reference information, maps, reports and statistics for community leaders in regards for wildfire planning and mitigation needs. TxWRAP provides information on the following topics:

     

    Wildfire Risk Themes

    • Wildland Urban Interface (WUI)
    • Pine Plantation Response Index
    • WUI Response Index
    • Where People Live
    • Community Protection Zones
    • Wildfire Threat
    • Wildfire Ignition Density
     
             

    Landscape Characteristics

    • Surface Fuels
    • Vegetation
    • Pine Age
    • Pine Plantations
    • Dozer Operability Rating
    • Percent Slope
    • Landforms
     

    Wildfire Behavior Outputs

    • Characteristic Fire Intensity Scale
    • Characteristic Rate of Spread
    • Characteristic Flame Length
    • Fire Type- Extreme
     
             

    Historical Wildfire Occurrence

    • Wildfire Ignitions
    • Large Wildfires
    • Wildfire Case Studies
     


    TxWRAP depiction of Travis County WUI

    TxWRAP has the ability to produce an informative output summary of maps, text, tables and graphs for your county, community or fire department response area. The information can be included in your Community Wildfire Protection Plan (PDF, 22MB) or other wildfire mitigation plans. 

    To learn more about using TxWRAP, please contact your local WUI Specialist.
    TxWRAP Summary Output