Nacogdoches firefighters get refresher course on saving homes from wildfires

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Is your home ready to defend itself against fire? Lots of homeowners are asking that question following the devastating fires across Texas. As a community service, Nacogdoches firefighters are offering free home assessments and on Wednesday firefighters received a refresher course on the common fire hazards found around homes.

Nacogdoches firefighters called in Texas Forest Service Wildland Urban Interface experts.

They say metal gutters are good, but that isn't all you need to pay attention too.

"That doesn't mean a lot when you get more debris piled up in there because the more debris adds more heat to it, will compromise it," says Karen Stafford, TFS Regional Wildland Urban Interface Coordinator.

Firefighters were also told about how the right windows could also help save a home. Metal, double pane windows may come during remodeling, but installing metal screens on houses and under decks is cheap and could keep embers and sparks out.

"It can get in through a vent in the attic or if you have a pier and beam home it can get in under a home and it can be days it's smoldering," says Melanie Spradling, TFS Wildland Urban Interface Specialist.

Firefighters were reminded to look for homes attached to wooden fences, improperly stored propane tanks, and loose roofing that can catch embers.

Vegetation near homes is another hazard.

"Doesn't mean you can have any vegetation at all, but just having it a good distance from the home. We recommend about 30 feet," says Spradling.

Firefighters are now equipped with a checklist and a good solid review on fire hazards.

"You just call our office and we'll set up a time for you to send a truck out," says Captain Robert Ford, NFD Fire Prevention. The number is (936) 559-2541.

The effort enhances the Texas Forest Service's goal of bringing residents and fire departments together for wildland fire solutions.

"Our job is protection, so we want to help them protect their homes," says Ford.

The Texas Forest Service has all sorts of information on how to better protect your home from fire on their websites and

Copyright 2011 KTRE. All rights reserved.