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April 4, 2013 – COLLEGE STATION, Texas – As Wildfire Awareness Week kicks off Monday, Texas A&M Forest Service is reminding residents of simple precautions they can take to prevent dangerous blazes. 

 About 90 percent of wildfires in Texas are attributed to preventable causes such as debris burning, outdoor campfires and welding. A little common sense – such as making sure your debris burn site is away from structures and overhanging branches – can prevent a wildfire from igniting. Other tips include:    

  • Never burn leaves on a windy day.
  • Monitor local burn bans by contacting your county judge’s office.
  • When barbecuing, never leave a grill unattended. 
  • Clear away grass, leaves and other debris within a 10-foot perimeter of any burn pile, campfire or barbecue grill.
  • Keep water nearby when doing anything outdoors that creates a spark.
  • If you see a fire, call 911.

Residents also can take precautions to increase their home’s chances of survival if a wildfire ignites, said Bruce Woods, Mitigation and Prevention department head for Texas A&M Forest Service.    

 “What you plant, where you place your plants and how you maintain the landscaping can help protect your home, and simple improvements can significantly decrease a home’s ignitability,” Woods said.    

 Some tips include:    

  • Create a break in vegetation with a rock path or other non-flammable material to slow the spread of wildfire.
  • Keep your lawn mowed and leaves raked.
  • Remove leaves and needles from your roof and gutters.
  • Clear vegetation to create at least 30 feet of “defensible space” around your home to allow firefighters to safely protect it. 
Visit  texasfirewise.org for information on fire-resistant construction materials, Firewise landscaping and vegetation management.  

Jan Amen, Fire Prevention Specialist
(936) 546-1004,  jamen@tfs.tamu.edu    

April Saginor, Communications Specialist  
(979) 458-6619,  asaginor@tfs.tamu.edu