City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Take Steps to Prepare Now
Saturday is National Wildfire Community Preparedness day across the nation. As Austinites enjoy the spring weather, the Austin Fire Department (AFD) and partner agencies offer tips on getting prepared to reduce wildfire risk.
AFD has already seen an early season increase in brush and grass fires this spring. Drought conditions, vegetation, hills, summer heat, and regular windy and dry weather across Central Texas will present serious wildfire risks through the summer and fall seasons.
“Even though we are currently receiving rain, overall, we are still in a rain deficit. With expected rising temperatures, there could be similar severe drying trends to what our community experienced in 2011,” said Wildfire Division Chief Carrie Stewart. “When comparing these weather patterns, we recognize the need for our community to harden their homes before anticipated drought conditions.”
Taking the steps to prepare now is especially important, Stewart noted. A 2019 Corelogic Wildfire Risk Report ranked Austin as fifth among the top 15 metropolitan areas with the greatest wildfire risk, just below four of California’s population centers.
Letting debris pile up near the home and throughout yards increases fire risk. Fire prevention experts recommend that Austinites work to:
- Remove all leaves and debris from the lawn and yard around the home. Begin with moving all debris at least 3 to 5 feet from your home’s foundation.
- Look for leaves and dried plants, on and under decks and porches.
- Move the wood pile (s) at least 30 feet from the house.
- Keep roofs free of debris and gutters cleaned out.
- Mow grass frequently and collect all dead branches.
- Replace plants that may have been lost in the winter storm with fire-wise plants which are typically drought resistant.
Austin Resource Recovery is continuing to collect seasonal yard debris and the backlog associated with winter storms. The volume of storm debris has made this a slower process. City residents should:
- Set out material with the weekly composting collection: small branches and leaves can be composted in your green cart.
- Stack branches that don’t fit in the green cart in manageable bundles, no heavier than 30 pounds. Place next to the green cart.
- Drop off storm debris at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant.
To connect with AFD’s wildfire expert to discuss your property, call Austin 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000, or email FireWildfire@austintexas.gov.
To report hazardous conditions on other residential and commercial properties or other locations, call Austin 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000, complete a service request online, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or download the Austin 3-1-1 mobile app.