Wildfire Safety Awareness
Each year wildfires can pose a significant threat for Texas communities. High winds and dry conditions can set the stage for potentially severe fires. In the past 10 years, wildfires burned over 9.3 million acres statewide. No region of the state is immune to wildfires.
Human activity accounts for 90% of all Texas wildfires. Learn more below about how you and your family can help prevent Texas wildfires.
Protect your home
Increase fire protection for your house and safety for your family by following some key guidelines before dry weather and high winds bring the threat of wildfires to your area.
- Choose fire resistant materials and protective roofing. Stone, brick and metal provide more protection than wood.
- Cover all vents coming out of attics and eaves with metal mesh screens. Mesh size should be no larger
than six millimeters or ¼ inch to stop debris from collecting in the vents. This also helps keep sparks out.
- Install multi-pane windows, tempered safety glass or fireproof shutters to protect large windows from radiant heat.
- Use fire-resistant draperies for added window protection.
- Have chimneys, wood stoves and home heating systems inspected and cleaned annually by a certified specialist.
- Insulate chimneys and place spark arresters on top. Chimneys should be three feet above the roof.
Protecting farms and ranches
Farm and ranch families, and citizens living in rural areas, can help protect their property during potentially severe wildfire seasons by taking precautions before fires break out. Fire experts advise keeping grass mowed within 30 feet of your home. Minimize shrubbery near your home and prune lower branches of trees to help prevent surface fires from spreading into tree crowns.
Make sure the areas beneath utility lines are clear of brush, tall grass and trees to reduce the risk of losing utility services. Make sure driveways and roads onto your property are passable in all types of weather, and wide enough to allow access by heavy fire trucks. Other tips include:
- Clear vegetation between buildings and from nearby fields or woodlands to create a firebreak to stop, or to help restrict, the spread of a wildfire.
- Clear areas and create firebreaks along roadways to prevent roadside fires from spreading onto your property.
- Keep mufflers and spark arresters on agricultural equipment in proper working order.
- Monitor hay-baling operations closely. Check for hot bearings or hay caught in rollers. Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Watch out for sparks when using welding equipment. Remove vegetation from the work area or wet down vegetation
prior and during welding operations. Keep water handy, and use a spotter to watch for sparks.
- Avoid driving or parking vehicles in grassy areas where tall, dry grass can come into contact with hot pollution control equipment under your vehicle.
- Postpone outdoor burning until vegetation in your area becomes green. Check with your local fire department to determine if
all restrictions on outdoor burning have been lifted.
If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Choose a route away from the fire hazard and be alert to changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke.
When weather conditions make wildfires more likely in your area, take the following precautions:
- Keep firefighting tools handy, such as a ladder long enough to reach the roof, shovel, rake and buckets.
- Place connected garden hoses on all sides of the house for emergency use.
- Know all emergency exits from your house.
- Learn all routes leading out of your neighborhood.
As fires actually approach, take the following actions:
- Park your car facing the direction of escape.
- Shut off gas at the meter; only a qualified professional can safely turn the gas back on.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Place combustible patio furniture inside.
- Seal vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.
- Wet down or remove shrubs within 15 feet of your residence.
- Place lawn sprinklers on roof and near above-ground fuel tanks; wet down the roof.
- Close windows, vents, doors, blinds and non-combustible window coverings.
- Remove flammable drapes and curtains.
- Close interior doors and windows to prevent drafts.
Be ready to “Grab and Go!”
Wildfires can rapidly threaten homes and residential areas. Always be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Keep a portable emergency supplies kit and “grab and go” box, with copies of important documents and files, somewhere easily accessible. Items should be stored in a durable, sealed box, preferably one that is waterproof and fireproof. If evacuation is necessary make sure to take your kit and “grab and go” box!
For more information about wildfires visit: