Above-average wildfire year predicted in Central Texas, local experts share tips

(RaeAnn Christensen)

%INLINE%Dry and windy summers can result in an increase in wildfires, said Will Boettner, a fire education outreach coordinator in the Travis County Fire Marshal’s office, at a media conference held May 9.

These factors, along with the spring rain that caused rich vegetation, are reasons why 2018 is predicted to be an above-average year for wildfires in Central Texas, according to Boettner and Lt. Steve Gibbons from the Austin Fire Department.

Gibbons said Central Texas is a fire ecosystem, which means it is dependent on fire to “keep the ecological balance in check.” However, fires are now suppressed, so Central Texas ended up with a stockpile of “fuel,” or vegetation, where it would not have been before, he said.

Residents should prepare for the possibility of wildfires near their homes and adopt fire-wise principals, he said.

“Everybody needs to start adapting to our environment; it’s a fire environment,” Gibbons said.

Jarred Thomas, the director of the Williamson County Office of Emergency Management, said residents can prepare for wildfires by remembering “Ready, Set, Go!, a nationwide program that offers a step-by-step plan for fire preparedness.

Thomas also said that the best way to notify residents of a wildfire is through their phone, so he recommended residents register for WarnCentralTexas.org, a regional notification system by the Capital Area Council of Governments that serves Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis, and Williamson counties, according to a statement from Williamson County.

Readers can learn more about Ready, Set, Go! here. They can sign up for the emergency notification system at www.warncentraltexas.org.


From FOX 7's reporting partner Community Impact.