Remote Etoile community becomes firewise - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Remote Etoile community becomes firewise

David and Roxie Preuss David and Roxie Preuss
Jan Amen Jan Amen

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

ETOILE, TX (KTRE) - The remote New World Subdivision holds plenty of appeal for David and Roxie Preuss. The couple has lived here for 25 years.

"It's the closest thing to Heaven that there is, here on the lake," said David.

To protect their home from the threat of wildfires, they do their part in making their community firewise.  "We cleared the lot. We got water faucets, about ten of them everywhere all over the property. We cleared a road down to the lake, where a fire truck could actually come down to the lake and get some water," said David.

Texas Forest Service workers feed brush pulled by the Preuss family and other homeowners into this chipper, as it spits it back out across the forest floor.

"We like to clear all that brush away. Any leaves or anything like that from around the house," said Steven Moore, resource protection specialist with the Texas Forest Service.

The equipment used to clear out the subdivision was paid in full by a 6-million dollar grant from the U.S. Forest Service to cover left-over damage from hurricane Ike."

"The fire department helped them clear the roads after hurricane Ike but then those down trees just laid there and rotted so we're here to help make better fire breaks for the community," said fire prevention specialist Jan Amen.

Homeowners also have an evacuation plan.

"If there were to be a bad fire, they'd go to the beach. The third side of the community is water, Lake Sam Rayburn and the Etoile Volunteer Fire Department could pick them up in their rescue boat," said Amen.

With a cleaner, safer community, all that's left is to finish what they started.

"Taking leaves off the roof and out of gutters, raking leaves away from the house. Not putting combustible materials next to your structures. It's just basic cleaning up," said Amen.

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