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In the News

Prepare for wildfire season by registering for alerts at WarnCentralTexas.org

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Public safety officials and local advocates from around the region at a Warn Central Texas press conference in May urged Central Texas residents to prepare for the 2019 wildfire season by staying aware of their wildfire risk, mitigating dangers, and preparing themselves to act. Registering for local emergency alerts at WarnCentralTexas.org and becoming a Firewise USA Community are two ways residents can stay vigilant. The wildfire season historically starts in May and can last until October.

“We like to say that wildfires are everyone’s fight in Central Texas,” said Justice Jones, Austin Fire Department wildfire mitigation officer. “Taking simple steps can ensure your home doesn’t ignite during a wildfire such as keeping debris from your gutters and trimming your trees to eliminate dead wood and leaf litter… and heeding warnings you receive through Warn Central Texas.”

WarnCentralTexas.org is a portal for residents to register cellphones and email addresses to receive emergency messages from local public safety officials using the regional notification system. The system can alert an entire city or county, or send hyper-local messages targeting neighborhoods or streets. Messages can include actionable alerts such as evacuation or shelter-in-place instructions. All CAPCOG member governments can use the tool.

The National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise USA program encourages neighbors to work together to prevent losses that could be caused by wildfires. The program educates and motivates people at the neighborhood level to take actions such as clearing excess brush and knowing evacuations routes or safe places to shelter in place. The Austin Firewise Alliance runs quarterly in-depth training to help community leaders make their neighborhoods more wildfire resilient and become Firewise; it welcomes all communities.

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, the wildfire risk will be higher during the late summer because of the year’s larger than average rainfall; increased rains create more vegetation providing more fuel for wildfires.

> Learn more about WarnCentralTexas.org and the regional notification system.
> Learn how to become a Firewise USA community.

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