Travis County scores high for wildfire threat no matter how you measure. Grasses in the east and trees in west, plus freeze-dried vegetation and too little rain make springtime 100 degree heat alarming. So, I am sounding the alarm – each one of us needs to take action to protect what we love from wildfire. If you live in an apartment, please talk to your property manager about keeping the place tidy – trash dumpsters should be away from the building, trees trimmed back and any greenspace well maintained. Houses can be made more defensible too by removing things that burn from within 5 feet of the home. This is called the Home Ignition Zone and the goal is that your home never ignites! I’ve been spreading this message by talking with neighborhood groups during May, which is National Wildfire Prevention Month. My office together with the Fire Marshall hosted a training event for neighborhood leaders so that they can conduct Home Ignition Zone assessments for their neighbors to help make more homes protected against fire.

As we head into the summer months that might again be very hot and dry here in central Texas, we all need to do our part to our families and neighbors safe. Thankfully, our local fire departments, run by Emergency Service Districts or ESDs are all on notice, training and planning for just how to keep us safe should fire break out. We County commissioners appoint volunteers to the governing boards that run the ESDs – they hire the fire chiefs. All of my appointees know that being prepared for wildfire in Travis County is a top priority for me. I hope it is for you, too. Take action and prepare to protect what you love!