Wildfire Updates

Preparing For Wildfires Is Everyone’s Responsibility: Texas is officially now in the midst of the worst one-year drought on record. Fire bans have been issued for 251 of Texas’ 254 counties — a new record — as of August 22. With wildfires having struck or threatened all but two of the state’s 254 counties, on August 3, Governor Perry renewed his declaration, for the eighth time since it was first issued on Dec. 21, 2010, that extreme fire hazard continues to create a threat of imminent disaster for the people in the State of Texas.

Governor Perry requested on April 16 that Texas be declared a major disaster area, stating that more than 7,800 fires across the state had charred more than 1.5 million acres – about 2,400 square miles – while burning 244 homes and threatening more than 8,500 others. These tragic numbers have increased (Since fire season started on November 15, 2010, Texas Forest Service and area fire departments have responded to 19,855 fires that have burned 3,509,260 acres, as of August 26) since Governor Perry’s request, which was denied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency on May 3. Governor Perry appealed this decision on May 26.

On July 1, President Obama approved a portion of the Major Disaster Declaration request, applying to fires fought between April 6 and May 3. Three Texas firefighters have died in the line of duty, in addition to a number of injuries.

Over the last two years, 85 percent of the wildfires in Texas have occurred within two miles of a community – so it’s obvious that wildland fires are not just a problem for rural homeowners.

Many Texans have been moving to the Urban Wildland Interface, where subdivisions and businesses meet the surrounding forests and fields. With this move to the wildlands, there are new fire risks.

With an increase in the wildland fire risks across Texas due to extended drought conditions and increasing urbanization, now is the time to be more Firewise.

As a homeowner, you are not powerless in your defense against wildfires. By taking a proactive approach to wildfire prevention and home defense, you can significantly increase your safety and your home’s likelihood of survival during a catastrophic wildfire.

The Texas Forest Service explains the Urban Wildland Interface and offers valuable information on how to minimize wildfire risk and fire suppression tactics at its Web site.

PSVFD can share first hand how quick wildfires can move and destroy lives, homes and other property. We spent 9 days and 5 apparatus in PK West fire back in April. We are ready to help at any time. We never know when we might need the response from our firefighting brothers and sisters! Go Brotherhood!!

 

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