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Defense Against Wildfire

There are a lot of homes in Austin's "urban-wildland" interface that could be at risk for wildfire. Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

Yesterday’s Oak Hill fire burned 100 acres, and it was exactly what fire officials here have feared for years, because of one of the very things people love about southwest Austin: its urban/wildland interface. 

Firefighters say there are a few things people can do to protect their homes from wildfires.  AFD Battalion Chief Palmer Buck says homeowners should clear out brush around the perimeter of their homes.

“If you have a wooden fence wrapped against a cedar break, you probably need to rethink that because that is going to be very difficult to get our crews back there to extinguish if you back up to a green belt as opposed to a chain link or rod iron fence, where the brush is cleared back away from your home,” said Chief Buck.

Buck says people should consider where they put outdoor patios and decorations.  He said people should reconsider wooden decks and gazebos. In the construction of homes, he says bricks better than wood siding.  Roofs and gutters should be cleared of debris regularly, and garden hoses should be put on all sides of your home in case of an emergency.  Fire tools, such as a ladder, shovel, rake and buckets, should also be handy. 

Ian Crawford joined KUT as News Editor in 2008, after spending over four years as a reporter/anchor at KLBJ Radio in Austin. He began his broadcasting career while still in high school in Southern Oregon. During high school and college at the University of Oregon, he worked at times as a reporter, news anchor, sports play-by-play reporter, music host and commercial producer before moving to Texas in 2003.