Friday, September 22, 2023

How to Reduce Grass & Wildfires Around Your Home and Property

It’s no secret that a lack of rain this season has made for extremely dry conditions and elevated fire danger, but there are steps you can take to help reduce the threat of fire around your home or property.

Take a look at these pictures taken on a recent drive through the northern section of the City with Southlake Fire Department’s Battalion Chief Trey Porter. You can see a lot of dry leaves, brush and trees branches that overhang and overlap onto other trees making conditions ripe for a wildfire that could easily spread from tree to tree and into nearby neighborhoods.

The Army Corp of Engineers has several hundred acres of land that back up to Lake Grapevine. The area is thick and overgrown. “Residents who live near these heavily wooded areas should take some proactive measures to help reduce the threat of fire from reaching their home or property. Some simple preparations now can make a big difference in protecting their property,” said Battalion Chief Porter.

Embers and small flames are one of the main ways homes ignite during wildfires because they can become airborne and be carried more than a mile by the wind. Homeowners can help prepare their homes to withstand ember attacks and minimize embers or flames from reaching their homes.

Here are some important measures you can take now to help protect your home and property.

  • Keep trees, bushes and brush near your home trimmed and cut back to reduce the overhang of limbs.
  • Clean and clear roofs and gutters of dead leaves, debris and pine needles that could catch embers.
  • Keep your lawn mowed to a height of four inches.
  • Keep your lawn watered, especially around your home.
  • Remove any dead plants, brush or trees.
  • Keep any combustibles away from the house.
  • Stack firewood 100 feet away from the home.
  • Keep your gas grill at least 15 feet from the house.

“As you can see from these pictures, it wouldn’t take much for a grass or wildfire to start so being proactive is the best defense,” Porter adds. The Southlake Fire Department wants homeowners, especially in high-risk areas, to be prepared to help keep their families and property safe. For more information about the threat of fire danger check out the department’s Fire Danger webpage.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact the fire department at (817) 748-8106.

Red Flag Warning Issued

The Southlake Fire Department wants to remind everyone that Southlake is included in the National Weather Services’ Red Flag Warning until 6:00 p.m. this evening.

This means the potential for grass fires is greater, especially with wind gusts likely up to 25 miles per hour. A Red Flag Warning is issued when a combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and dry vegetation can contribute to dangerous fire conditions.

Several grass fires have broken out all over the Metroplex as of Monday afternoon (1/22/2018), and just last week, the Southlake Fire Department responded to a grass fire in the 400 block of Shady Oaks Drive. The fire was accidentally started by someone using power tools to cut a pipe fence. The fire damaged several wooden fences but no structures were damaged. Fire Marshal Kelly Clements says, “Conditions are ripe for a similar situation to occur so make sure you have a good water supply nearby like a water hose if you are using power tools or welding outside. We want to encourage everyone to be aware of their surroundings during this elevated fire danger situation.”

The Fire Marshal has a few other safety tips to help reduce the fire danger threat.

  • No outdoor burning – Tarrant and Denton Counties are still under an outdoor burn ban
  • Do not toss lit cigarette butts outside
  • Avoid activities that cause sparks or flames
  • Check trailer chains
  • Don’t park cars on the grass – hot exhaust systems can ignite dry grass and start fires

If anyone sees a grass fire, you are asked to report it immediately to 9-1-1.  Your assistance will greatly assist in reducing the threat of a dangerous fire to homes and property.

If you have any additional questions, please contact the Southlake Fire Department at (817) 748-8106.