Wildfire prevention planners seek public input


by FOTI KALLERGIS / KVUE News & Photorjounalist KENNETH NULL


Posted on May 14, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 14 at 12:00 PM

AUSTIN -- A Travis County and Austin wildfire prevention team is looking to get input from the public on a new plan to get high risk wildfire communities ready for future disasters.

"I would say the west side is a highly targeted area, but don't forget that most of the wildfires in the city and county start in the east side," Austin Fire Department Wildfire expert Jim Linardos said. "So I would suggest that it's equally as important that [those who] live on the east side of Austin and in Travis County to support these meetings."

The first of three meetings will take place Tuesday. The three-day-a week meetings will continue in other communities around the county and city for the next five weeks.

The new wildfire prevention plan will help identify areas and communities that are considered high risk. The plan may include suggestions to homeowners and businesses like cutting all low-hanging tree limbs on property, eliminating all dry brush and creating fire walls between a property and greenbelt.

Travis County and Austin have spent about $200,000 in consulting fees to jump start the process. The county and city hopes after a plan is devised, communities can seek grants to help fund the mitigation to their communities.

The Texas Forest Service has a similar wildfire prevention plan called Firewise. The plan has been implemented in a number of communities across the state.

All meetings are open to the public and scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. Meeting locations and dates are as follows:

  • May 14, 15 and 16:  Travis County East Service Center: 6011 Blue Bluff Road, Austin
  • May 20, 22 and 23: 700 Lavaca Building, Austin (First floor, multifunction rooms)
  • May 28, 29 and 30: Travis County West Service Center, 4501 RR 620, Austin
  • June 4, 5 and 6: Pflugerville Fire Department 2003, B East Pecan Street, Pflugerville
  • June 11, 12 and 13:  North Travis County Fire & Rescue, 18300 Park Drive, Jonestown