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September 7, 2011
Making a Wildfire Plan

(Harris County, TX) As National Preparedness Month gets underway, and we’ve seen parts of the area devastated by wildfires, this is a great opportunity to review your plans for protecting yourself and property from the effects of any disaster. The severe drought in southeast Texas has created conditions that make wildfires a serious concern for everyone. The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management urges all residents to take a few minutes to review these steps that, in addition to observing the current burn ban, can help minimize the risk to their property.

Among the tips to protect property from wildfire are:

  • If the home is on flat land surrounded by grassland, create a 30-foot defensible space zone around the home.  If the home sits on a slope with adjacent vegetation that is dense or has tall brush, create defensible space of at least 200 feet.
  • Prune trees near structures and remove excess ground fuels such as fallen needles, cones and branches.
  • Pile firewood and other flammables well away from home and other structures.
  • Keep access roads free of debris and vegetation to improve access and escape in case of fire.
  • Clean debris from roofs and gutters.
  • Consider constructing or renovating with fire resistant building materials.
  • Take extreme caution while barbequing, disposing of cigarette butts or other flammable materials.

This is also an excellent time to review your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure you have coverage levels appropriate to your home and property. For example, does you policy cover rebuilding and additional living expenses should your home be severely damaged? A simple phone call to your insurance agent can relieve a lot of stress. And, making an inventory of your personal property can save hours of work should a claim need to be filed.

For more information, visit the Texas Department of Insurance Wildfire Resource Page at: