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Due to the recent catastrophic wildfires earlier this year here in West Texas and since it is now tree planting season we should all take a look at how to better protect our homes, landscape, and our land from destructive wildfires. While our county commissioners, area Volunteer Fire Departments, and Texas A&M Forrest Service are working together to keep us safe we too must work to fireproof our properties.

Almost every state has experienced wildfires that raged out of control this past year due to the hot dry summer we had in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Texas had one wildfire that was labeled the "Mesquite Heat Fire" and it raged out of control for weeks

That lesson learned we must all work together to ensure this kind of fire does not destroy our homes and property if we plan better. As some fires can and most often do spread into the suburbs where homes meet the country and the country meets the city and the city meets the unattended open-range lands.

While we've had our share of wildfires and thankfully due to the recent rains helping to get us off the county's burn ban, a wildfire can pop up anywhere and anytime. We homeowners can avoid wildfires and protect our properties better in two ways

  1. One is by designing and maintaining landscaping that is not fire-friendly. Build using fire-resistant materials. Fires need fuel, like dead trees, shrubs, and dead grasses. If we had wild pasture land we should work to keep it mowed down.
  2. Two is by reducing the amount of fuel around your home. Your land needs an area of reduced fuels between your home and the undeveloped land around you. This provides enough distance between a building and a fire to ensure that your home will more likely survive without firefighters.

The recent snowpocalypse took its toll on our shrubs, landscaping, and trees which all made good fuel for wildfires. Below are the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) tips and advice we as homeowners should follow.

Clear all dead branches that hang near or over your roof. Leaves, needles and other dead vegetation should not be allowed to build up on the roof, near the homes foundation and in the gutters.

In Texas where wildfires are a high-hazard, a clearance of about 50 to 100 feet between dwelling and range land should be maintained and fireproofed.

“While no landscape is completely fireproof, there are steps one can take to reduce the fire danger” says Tchukki Andersen, BCMA, staff arborist with the Tree Care Industry Association. The Tree Care Industry Association offers tips for your landscape to combat wildfires.

The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), a nonprofit and professional resource on trees and arboriculture since 1938. You can contact them at 1-800-733-2622 or by doing a ZIP Code search on www.treecaretips.org.

Source: Tree Care Industry Association

So as trees are going on sale and most of us are replacing the trees we lost due to the snow and ice storms at the first of the year. It's a good idea to check which trees are ice-resistant and which don't require that much water or are evergreen.

I like to plant an evergreen tree they call an Afghan Pine or Eldarica Pine, it's a medium size bushy pine tree perfect for filling extra space and forming a wind block. As the name suggests, this tree originates from Afghanistan and Central Asia making it excellent for the Texas droughts.

For more in-depth information and step-by-step tips for better protecting your home and property I highly recommend reaching out to the Texas A&M Forrest Service.

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