Firewise Committee Head
We recently had an updated Community Wildfire Risk Assessment done by Laura Johnson, our new Texas A&M Forest Service Wildland Urban Interface Specialist. The results have been posted on the POA website in the Firewise section.
To learn how to better protect your home, please see the Wildfire Risk Mitigation Strategies on that assessment, refer to the Firewise and Texas Forest Service brochures you have received, or go to http://www.firewise.org. Many of these materials are also posted on our Firewise page.
I do have some printed brochures also.
- Here are some additional comments from Laura Johnson: Most of our homes here are well constructed and the vegetation on most of our properties is maintained to reduce wildfire risk and result in a slight structure ignition hazard.
- The natural topography with steep slopes and flammable vegetation of the surrounding hill country environment do tip our rating more toward significant structure ignition hazard.
- However, our total hazard rating of 57 was only in the high moderate range. (Low 030, Moderate 3160, High 6190, Extreme 90+)
- Because we have chosen to live in an area with a high wildfire risk, we need to focus on keeping the areas immediately adjacent to our homes as safe as possible.
- To reduce risk on individual properties, we can increase defensible space around our homes and maintain them as recommended by Firewise and Texas Forest Service. Even more important is to have homes constructed to withstand threats from wildfires.
- We should all have driveways that are easily accessible by fire trucks, including an area for them to turn around. If they cannot get out, they are not likely to drive onto your property to defend your home.
- We got a lower rating because we still only have one way in/out of our community and no fire hydrants.
- We need to maintain our local water sources – the dry hydrant at Cattail Pond and the fire department access to swimming pool water. Laura says we also have helicopter access to water at the Big Lake in the event of a wildfire.
- The trimming of flammable vegetation, such as Ashe juniper, along the edges of our roads was seen as positive. Laura says we do not need to completely remove them, but pruning the limbs to 610 feet from the ground would help the roads to serve as fire breaks and prevent fires from jumping to the other side. Hardwoods are not highly flammable and do not need to be removed.
- If we do have a wildfire and you have not evacuated, yet decide you cannot stay in your home to “shelter in place” until the fire passes, you should go to our park or the area around the big lake. Do realize that there will be a lot of smoke. In the park by the pavilion, the large live oaks will not burn because the grasses are kept mowed.
- However, you need to make these decisions well ahead of an actual wildfire. If you plan to evacuate, do it as soon as possible. Do not wait until you have no escape route.
- If you have done your homework and do decide that you have done enough to protect your property and have a very safe home and surrounding landscape and want to “shelter in place” in your home during a wildfire, remember that although wildfires pass fairly rapidly, do not go outdoors too soon because the radiant heat will be intense. And be sure you have read the materials on preparing for this.