Texas Homeowners Learn the Hard Way How to Prepare for Wildfires

Luck was on the side of many residents in Willow Park, Texas as wildfires ripped through the area recently. Yards and fences were completely destroyed, but fortunately, all of the homes were left untouched. Firefighters in the area did their best to protect homes from the heat and smoke, and they did a pretty good job.

According to WFAA, crazy amounts of winds caused the fires to rapidly roll through the area at a high rate of speed. The Parker County Fire Marshall says that he believes the fire started when an electrical line that had been damaged sparked.

Nick Harrison, a Firewise Coordinator with the Texas AandM Forest Service, teaches Texas communities how to be prepared for a wildfire. Harrison works to educate communities like Willow Park, where the houses are near natural fire hazards during the dry season. During the most recent wildfire, about 250 homes were threatened. Harrison says that with the help of the community being prepared, as well as the work of the local firefighters, the homes were spared.

The Texas AandM Forest Service runs a program called “Ready, Set, Go!” This program teaches homeowners how to focus on zones throughout their home as they get ready for wildfire season. They also give the homeowners tips on how to prepare for a potential fire in the area.

Some of these tips include having a bed of stone or pebbles around the house instead of grass and cleaning out your gutters. In general, gutters should be cleaned at least two times a year. However, in areas where wildfires are more common, like Texas and California, the gutters should be cleaned more often. A lot of the advice the Texas AandM Forest Service offers seems to be common sense, but when a fire is ripping through town, that advice might not be first in someone’s mind.

Harrison talked to WFAA about being prepared as a homeowner.

“Anybody can walk around their home, look up, look down,” Harrison said. “Can you do things around your home to harden your structure?”

The forest service also says that it’s crucial to create solid access points for emergency responders. You need to make sure that cars are never blocking the roads, that streets are named, and that home addresses should be placed on the front door if a home is split in two.

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