Jan. 4, 2013 — CEDAR HILL, Texas —Texas A&M Forest Service crews soon will
begin removing potentially hazardous vegetation at selected sites in the
community of Cedar Hill in an effort to reduce the wildfire risk facing the
Firefighters will use a Gyro-Track mulching machine, as well as chainsaws,
a chipper and other hand tools to create shaded fuel breaks on sites at Northwood
University, West Belt Line Road and Valley Ridge Park.
Breaks are used to help stop or slow down wildfires by removing
the vegetation, which serves as fuel for the fire. A shaded fuel break often is
constructed in a forested area, where trees are thinned and pruned but retain
some canopy. Such a break can help keep surface fires from spreading into tree
tops, which increases fire intensity.
The work is scheduled to begin Jan. 7 and will take place over the
next three months.
“This project will enhance the access and egress for emergency
responders,” said Nick Harrison, a wildland urban interface forester with Texas
A&M Forest Service. “And if a fire did occur, the fuel break could help
keep it out of the adjacent populated areas and reduce the impact on university
The fuel mitigation project is one of the initiatives outlined in
Cedar Hill’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan, which helps communities
identify their risks and develop methods to combat them.
Working in conjunction with Texas A&M Forest Service, Cedar
Hill began developing its strategic plan in 2008. The community was nestled in
the midst of the wildland urban interface, an area where populated development
begins to encroach on rural, undeveloped land.
Aware of the challenges posed by their location, then-Fire Chief
Steve Pollock put an emphasis on developing a protection plan. Pollock now
serves chief regional fire coordinator for the Texas A&M Forest Service,
but he has continued to work with the department and current Chief John Ballard,
helping them continue to carry out the initiatives outlined in the plan.
Northwood University President Dr. Kevin Fegan said he was pleased
to know the area would be safer thanks to the work being done.
"This project not only ensures we are taking steps to protect
our campus, but also our community," Fegan said. "Part of our
approach as an institution has been to be a good neighbor and a valued partner
in our community. We are proud to be a part of this collaborative effort."
Media Advisory: A Media Day allowing reporters the chance to get an up-close and
personal look at the equipment and work being done is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, at Northwood University. Officials with Northwood University,
Cedar Hill Fire Department and Texas A&M Forest Service will be available
for interviews. Northwood University is located at 1114 West FM 1382 in Cedar
Hill. Once at the campus, university staff will direct attendees to the project
Nick Harrison, Wildland Urban Interface Forester, Texas A&M Forest Service
Monica Hurtado, Director of Marketing and Public Relations,
972-293-5456 office, 214-662-1990 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Holly Huffman, Communications Specialist, Texas A&M Forest
979-458-6605 office, 979-324-0708 cell, email@example.com