Become ‘firewise’ to protect your home; program is Sept. 7

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Recent wildfires across the Highland Lakes this summer, such as the Park Road 4 fire in late July, highlight the need for property owners to prepare for such emergencies. A good place to start is the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise USA program, which ‘teaches people how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together and take action now to prevent losses.’ The Kingsland Garden Club program on Thursday, Sept. 7, is about Firewise landscaping. The meeting is at 1 p.m. in the Kingsland Branch Library, 125 W. Polk. It’s free to attend and open to the public. Courtesy photo by Robert and Sheryl Yantis

Recent wildfires across the Highland Lakes this summer, such as the Park Road 4 fire in late July, highlight the need for property owners to prepare for such emergencies. A good place to start is the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise USA program, which ‘teaches people how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together and take action now to prevent losses.’ The Kingsland Garden Club program on Thursday, Sept. 7, is about Firewise landscaping. The meeting is at 1 p.m. in the Kingsland Branch Library, 125 W. Polk. It’s free to attend and open to the public. Courtesy photo by Robert and Sheryl Yantis

KINGSLAND — As housing developments and other homes push farther into rural areas, the chances that wildfires could become a serious threat to homes and structures increases. In the past several months, at least five wildfires of 300 acres or more have burned parts of the Highland Lakes with two requiring evacuations of nearby residents.

Fortunately, during the spat of fires, including the recent 300-acre Horseshoe Bay blaze, there have been no reports of homes lost. But fire officials are still urging people to take steps to better protect their homes.

One way is by strategic planning through programs such as the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise USA program, or simply becoming “firewise.”

The Kingsland Garden Club is hosting Kari Hines, a wildland urban interface specialist with the Texas A&M Forest Service. She will talk about Firewise landscaping and other simple steps homeowners can take to greatly decrease the chances of losing their home or other structures during a brush fire.

The meeting is Friday, Sept. 7, at the Kingsland Branch Library, 125 W. Polk St. The general meeting begins at 1 p.m. Hines’ program starts at 1:30 p.m. The presentation is free to attend and open to the public.

This program will teach the basics on why homes burn and how to better prepare while managing your land for personal goals, according to a Kingsland Garden Club media release. Proper plant selection and construction materials used in landscaping and homebuilding influence how wildfires burn.

Another tip is to create a “defensible space” of about 30 feet around a home, limiting fuel for wildfires.

But the best way to learn how to protect your home and property is by attending the club meeting and listening to what Hines has to say.

Go to www.yantislakesidegardens.com for more about the Kingsland Garden Club or txforestservice.tamu.edu for more on preparing for wildfires.

editor@thepicayune.com

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