NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Nacogdoches County Wildfire Protection Plan is about a half a foot thick. The binder is filled with the addresses where potential fire hazards were detected. They're listed not to embarrass, but to alert communities what can stand in the way of affective wildland fire response.
"This is a comprehensive approach that communities take to identifying their risk areas within these jurisdictions," explains Justice Jones, Texas Forest Service (TFS) wildfire prevention coordinator. "Jurisdictions will be developing mitigation actions to reduce those risks and help protect the public they serve."
Assessments were conducted in each volunteer fire department response area, as well as inside the city of Nacogdoches. Various fire fighting agencies will use the information to encourage property owners to take the necessary steps toward a safer community.
"Homeowners have the responsibility of mitigating wildfire risks on their property. It's no state or local government job to do that," said Jones.
The departments and the TFS will come in and point out areas to the property owner that needs corrections. It could be a wood stack too close to the home. It could be too much trash and junk around the home.
County leaders do have the responsibility to set guidelines which can create safer neighborhoods.
"A year ago the county came at and rewrote its subdivision policy and that policy is a stipulation saying that subdivisions that are created now have to have an entrance and an exit," said Nacogdoches County Judge Joe English.
The court was presented the county wildfire protection plan by the TFS on Tuesday.
"Fire is part of the ecosystem. It's not going away," reminded Jones. The goal is to increase awareness and encourage collaborations. "So folks need to be vigilant. They need to prepare. This is a life long commitment of living harmoniously in a fire environment," said Jones.
The Nacogdoches County Wildfire Protection Plan will have to be updated annually. The part concerning Etoile may need updating already. Students in the Etoile Independent School Districts have already cleaned up many of the targeted properties in their area. The Nacogdoches County Commissioners court honored them with a proclamation for endorsing firewise safety.
The wildfire protection plan is available for review at the Nacogdoches County judge's office and will soon be distributed to each volunteer fire department.