Tyler, TX (KETK) — Smokey the Bear said it best, only you can prevent wildfires. This is exactly what the Texas A&M Forest Service is encouraging.
On April 5 2014, the Forest Service is hosting a "Wild Land Urban Interface Workshop" in Jacksonville with the Cherokee County Master Gardeners Club. KETK spoke with Luke Kanclerz from the Forest Service, who said, "We're going to be working to take proactive measures in reducing risk around homes against wildfires".
The workshop will be covering many topics, including a risk assessment test, and Kanclerz said, "Whatever people can do to reduce the risk around their homes and property is going to benefit them in the long run, and protect their investment, their homes, and their lives". The workshop is free, but you must register for the course. You can do by contacting Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org  or at the Texas A&M Forest Service office at (903) 586-7545.
Throughout East Texas, burning debris is the number one cause of wildfires. Kanclerz recommends, "When conditions are dry or we have really windy conditions, which just a few days ago was pretty evident, just hold back from burning. If you are going to burn, try doing it early in the morning". If you must do so, never leave the fire unattended.
Otherwise, there are a few things you can do to have a "firewise" home. These include:
- Clear all dead needles and leaves
- Trim back branches of large trees
- Create an emergency action plan
- Use fire-resistant materials on your roof, such as asphalt, metal, or concrete
- Make sure all attachments to the home are fire resistant, like porches and decks
- Heat can crack windows, so verify your siding is a fire-resistant product like brick or plaster