While wildfire is rare to the Houston area, during times of extended drought, wildland fires can erupt, causing extensive damage to park lands, homes and businesses. Residents can take steps to protect themselves from the effects of these dangerous natural hazards.
What can I do to protect my community from increased fire dangers?
Be careful with the way that you use fire and other items that can spark. This includes:
- Extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials in proper containers, and be sure not to flick cigarette out on highways, where they can set fire to dry grasses in medians and along frontage roads.
- Avoid using chainsaws or other heavy machinery that can spark and cause a fire to form.
- Make sure that you are maintaining your lawn and that it remains moist as much as possible. Doing this early in the morning is your best bet for keeping the moisture in the soil and in the plant.
- Avoid outdoor campfires if possible, but if you do, be sure to use an enclosed container.
- Make sure that trees and shrubbery are properly maintained, and avoid planting trees and bushes under awnings in your home.
- If you live in a more rural environment, create defensible space 100ft around your home, by removing brush, overgrown trees or bushes, and planting succulent plants. This will allow firefighters to more easily defend your home in a wild fire.
- Many fires in our region have been sparked by vehicles idling on tall, dry grasses. If you find yourself in a roadside emergency, if safe, try to park your vehicle on pavement and away from tall grasses. If you do have to park on a median, be sure to keep your vehicle off, to prevent the hot tailpipe from igniting grasses.
- If you are ordered to evacuate – do so immediately. Staying behind puts both you and first responders in more danger.
How do I find my Wildfire Risk?
Residents who live along the “wildland-urban interface”, or the place where wild land meets a neighborhood, or other urban environment, are at risk of wildfire. The Texas A&M Forest Service has developed a website to help residents and property owners better understand their risk of wildfire. visit texaswildfirerisk.org to find yours.