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This week, officials from the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) spoke publicly about the coming wildfire season, which begins in May and runs through the fall. Hot, dry and windy conditions are predicted for Central Texas, which can have devastating effects, contributing to the seriousness of wildfires which may occur. A history of major fires in the area include Bastrop Complex Fire in Bastrop County, the Steiner Ranch Fire in Travis County and the Moonglow Fire in Williamson County.
"You can reduce the damage from wildfires, but you can't keep wildfires from starting," says Will Boettner of the Travis County Fire Marshal's Office. "Homeowners need to have their homes evaluated for wildfire danger by their local fire department. They also need to watch the weather and pay attention to warnings."
CAPCOG has an emergency notification system in place, called WarnCentralTexas.org, in which the City of Taylor participates as part of the CODERed system. It is no cost to Taylor residents to sign up to receive emergency notifications from local government and the National Weather Service. Citizens choose whether to be contacted by text, email and/or phone in cases of emergency.
Williamson County Emergency Management Director Jarred Thomas recommends residents be prepared for a wildland fire by following the "Ready, Set, Go!" program. Thomas advises citizens to assemble a "go kit" which should contain
According to Lieutenant Steve Gibbon with the Austin Fire Department, there already have been 449 wildfires in the Austin area this year. The risk for wildfires is increasing as new neighborhoods include natural green spaces and homes being built next to undeveloped areas. The Firewise USA program at firewise.org teaches people how to adapt to living with potential for wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together to reduce the risk.
Ready, Set, Go - For the Seasonal Resident and Property Owner
The WarnCentralTexas.org alert system is provided by CAPCOG serving Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis and Williamson counties.