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Red Flag Warning Brings Wildfire Risk

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:12 PM CDT

At 8 a.m. Tuesday, a Red Flag Warning will go into effect here in Central Texas. Gusty winds, combined with dry conditions, along with burn bans in several area counties, means you need to be on your guard.

Experts say the homes typically most at risk are the ones near a lot of vegetation. Taking care of the first 30 feet or so around your home will mean you'll have much better odds of keeping your home safe. Among the steps experts recommend you take:

-Cut back all tree branches that hang from the house or are lower than 6-10 feet from the ground

-Remove dead branches that extend over the roof. Experts say branches located in the first 10 feet from the home also can cause fire problems.

-Clean your roof and gutters of leaves, twigs, and other combustible materials

-Move plants at least 3 feet from deck, porch, or siding.

-Remove dead or dying plants

-Rake and remove leaves and pine needles from under vegetation

-Make sure garden hoses are long enough to reach the home and other structures on your property

-Remove flammable items like doormats, brooms, and patio furniture cushions from decks or entries

Firefighters say the "defensible space" within the first 30 feet of the home is critical. They say overgrown vegetation means more heat, potentially igniting the home. They also recommend planning an escape route with your family, along with a meeting place in case you become separated.
Austin fire officials can conduct a wildfire risk assessment on your home in your neighborhood.

To see the wildfire risk in your area:

For step by step instructions on protecting your home from fires:

To sign up for emergency wireless alerts:

By Adam Bennett
Red Flag Warning Brings Wildfire Risk

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