Over the last two years, two plans have been developed that help residents and homes of NWACA prepare to survive a wildfire. Each plan is a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). The overarching CWPP was developed by a joint task force of Austin and Travis County entities, providing guidance for the entire area. Released in November 2014, that plan is now being implemented by a joint team from these same entities – including all of the fire departments, emergency services departments, and various other City and County organizations. The plan is here: http://www.austintexas.gov/wildfireprotectionplan
Leveraging the Austin/Travis County Joint CWPP, the NWACA Wildfire Prevention Committee created a NWACA CWPP, which will soon be posted to the NWACA web site and will be described at the May 14th NWACA Annual Neighborhood Meeting. This plan covers:
- Community Profile - our general landscape, climate, vegetation, population, land use, fire response capabilities, and facilities of concern
- Fire Environment - the areas of NWACA most at risk from wildfire (about 40% of the population lives on the wildland urban interface (WUI), though all of NWACA is at risk from wildfire embers)
- Risk Assessment – a summary of the NWACA-wide wildfire risk assessment that was done by the Texas Forest Service and the Austin Fire Department’s Wildfire Division in late 2013
- Mitigation Strategies - how NWACA will educate residents, provide guidance on how individual homeowners and businesses can harden their property against wildfire, reduce wildfire fuel in our green spaces, and establish plans for evacuation or sheltering in place when a fire occurs
- Implementation – how we will deploy this plan by facilitating development of Firewise Communities throughout NWACA, with a starter kit for HOAs and street-level groups of neighbors
Each Firewise Community will have its own small CWPP, identifying the work of that community to get its homes and green spaces fire-hardened. This plan is reviewed by the AFD Wildfire Division and then is submitted for national review and recognition through the Texas Forest Service. Once a Firewise Community is active and homes are being hardened, the AFD Wildfire Division will work with the neighborhood to help reduce wildfire fuel in City or County-owned green spaces in their area. Using this incremental approach, we plan to gradually make all of NWACA less vulnerable to wildfire.
Learn more about this at the May 14th NWACA Annual Meeting. To take part as a Firewise Community, send email to [email protected] and to learn how to harden your home, sign up for a risk assessment on the NWACA web site using the Firewise Request link.