Wildfire Prevention Tip #14 – Be Prepared for a Local Wildfire

September 29th, 2014


About 2000 NWACA homes within a half mile of Stillhouse Hollow Preserve received a postcard from the Wildfire Division of the Austin Fire Department (AFD) last week, with this message on one side of the card.

card smaller

Our homes are the ones that were in the “ember zone” of that fire – if the canopy had ignited.

It reminds us that wildfires happen not only in California or Colorado, but right here in NWACA!

Sunday evening, August 31, there was a fire in the Stillhouse Hollow Preserve which destroyed the observation deck; only the cement support posts remain. Thankfully, little vegetation ignited, since the fire occurred in this particular area, where there are springs and the surrounding area was quite moist.

fire damage on obs deck


Quick action by our local fire department and the Wildfire Division prevented this fire from reaching homes in our neighborhood.

A question that has been raised by neighbors near this fire is “How can we find out what’s going on?” Neither 3-1-1 nor 9-1-1 has the capacity to carry current information on all such incidents.

Here are some sources:

  • AFD has a Twitter feed, @Austinfireinfo, on which all fire events are communicated, so residents using Twitter can follow that feed for information
  • News outlets are another source, though they may lag the event
  • Austin’s Homeland Security site: http://austintexas.gov/department/hsem  has emergency information of several types. Data on active Austin Fire Incidents is updated every 3 minutes.

In case there is a need for evacuation because of a wildfire, AFD will use the emergency notification system that goes through the 9-1-1 registry. All land lines are covered by 9-1-1. To have your cell phone included for such emergency contact, register here: warncentraltexas.org

The postcard provides three simple steps to take:

  • Develop and practice a family evacuation plan (see the Ready Set Go brochure in the Wildfire Prevention Archive in the Resources section of this web site)
  • Harden your home against a wildfire (more at www.firewise.org )
  • Be part of the solution  (see information in the Wildfire Prevention Archive in the  Resources section of this web site

Another part of the solution is to sign up now for your free home wildfire risk assessment. Certified assessors will walk your property with you, so you know how to harden your home.  It takes less than an hour of your time. To arrange for an assessment, go to the Get Involved section of our web site and use the Firewise Request form.

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