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On Anniversary of Oak Hill Fires, Tips (And an App) on Wildfire Awareness

The scene in an Oak Hill neighborhood during 2011's wildfire outbreak.
Photo by Crystal Chavez for KUT News
The scene in an Oak Hill neighborhood during 2011's wildfire outbreak.

Fires broke out in Southwest Austin’s Oak Hill neighborhood on April 17, 2011. Now, as the city prepares for the one year anniversary of the outbreak, it's releasing tools encouraging citizens to stay vigilant for future fires – saying it’s not a question of “if,” but “when.”

The city has published a document, "Ready, Set, Go!” with tips on wildfire safety.

The title itself is a nod to three steps for dealing with encroaching wildfires: being “ready” by removing combustible materials like stray branches and tall grass from around homes; being “set” with an evacuation plan and an emergency kit; and being ready to “go” by evacuating well in advance of any fire. Those tips and several others can be found in a downloadable document on the city’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management webpage.

Developers are also working on a mobile application to rapidly share wildfire updates. While the app hasn’t been completed yet, developers with Code for America (which was recently in Austin developing similar civic-minded apps) are currently “developing a mobile application that will provide information about wildfire preparedness and notifications.”

You can sign up to be notified once it’s completed at



Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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