May 7, 2012
With drought conditions intensifying in parts of Texas and the memory of fires destroying nearly four million acres across the state not yet faded, wildfire is once again a concern. One way the Texas Forest Service hopes to minimize the risk to Texans is with the new Texas Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal, or TxWRAP, a web application that allows users to assess the fire risk of any area in the state. Working alongside Texas A&M University, TxWRAP uses factors like drought, wind, and humidity as well as an area’s topography to determine areas of fire danger.
Because TxWRAP is searchable by location, homeowners can use the tool to determine what type of risk zone their home is in. Prospective buyers can also assess the risk of a property they are considering purchasing. The tool also provides information about how to reduce risks to property within those higher danger zones.
What else can you do help minimize your risk? Be aware of burn bans and wildfire warnings in your county. People are the cause of more than 90% of all wildfires in the state, and activities like burning brush piles during periods of heightened wildfire risk can spell disaster. It is important to note that county judges and/or county commissioners courts can implement burn bans at any time, so it is important to stay vigilant. You can find a list of current county burn bans here.
Other wildfire prevention tips can be found at the Texas Forest Service’s website.