Austin-Farm and ranch families and citizens living in rural areas can help protect their property during potentially severe wildfire seasons by taking precautions before wildland fires break out. Fire experts advise clearing a 30-to-50-foot space around homes and other buildings. Keep grass mowed down whether it is dormant or still green.
Clear brush from areas between the trees. Prune any lower branches. Make sure the area beneath utility lines are clear of brush, tall grass and trees in order to protect essential services. Make sure wide vehicles can pass over roads and driveways in all types of weather and that bridges are strong enough to support heavy fire trucks carrying water. Make sure your home address, with both the house number and street name, is clearly visible. Other wildland fire safety tips include the following.
• Clear vegetation between buildings and nearby fields or woodlands to create an area that does not feed the fire. Clear areas along roadways.
• Keep mufflers and spark arresters on agricultural equipment in proper working order.
• Monitor hay-baling operations closely. Check for hot bearings or hay caught in rollers. Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
• Watch out for sparks when using welding equipment to build fences or repair equipment.
• Avoid driving or parking vehicles in grassy areas where tall, dry grass can come into contact with hot pollution control equipment under your vehicle.
• Postpone outdoor burning until your area greens up. Check with your local fire department to determine if all restrictions on outdoor burning have been lifted.
For more information on fire danger and advisories, see the Texas Forest Service Web site at: http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu