Texas, USA — Even though some burn bans have been lifted, recent rain has not reduced the drought danger in Central Texas.
It will take a lot more rain before wild fires aren’t a constant concern.
The city of Austin is taking steps to develop a comprehensive wild fire management plan.
“We’ve seen the devastating wildfires in other parts of the Texas. Central Texas for the most part spared. but there is still the danger of fires here — that’s why the city has brought in an expert,” Fire Management Specialist Glen Gillman said.
Fires all over the state are one sign of the severe drought that grips Texas.
Western Travis County has rolling hills sprinkled with wildland preserves and million-dollar homes. It presents a different fire problem.
That’s why the city has brought in Gillman to coordinate the fire management program.
“Wildland fire requires different tactics, different equipment and different expertise,” Gillman said.
Anywhere wildfires occur, several different firefighting units will respond, but there’s not much coordination.
“There’s typically not a lot of local capacity. You have to bring in resources from multiple jurisdictions and organizations. It’s important we have a single training program so that we can communicate and coordinate more effectively,” Gillman said.
A great part of the appeal of central Texas is the beautiful landscape. But part of the problem is the increasing interface between development and wild lands because that tends to increase the fire danger.
“Those fires typically are out of season, aren’t planned events and can be very dangerous,” Gillman said.
Fire management requires a careful balance to protect wildland preserves and nearby homes, but the goal is clear.
“A wildfire response plan that ensures life and property is protected, but also provides for the needs of the wildland,” Gillman said.
While it is certainly a worthy goal to preserve these wildlands, of course fire is something we’re going to have to worry about — and so more cooperation between firefighters and the people who live here is certainly going to be necessary.
Again, nothing is going to change until we get significant rain in the area.