Nov. 10, 2016 — BUFFALO GAP, Texas — Ten years ago, Buffalo Gap, Texas became one of only three Firewise communities in the state.
The citizens of Buffalo Gap will commemorate their 10th year as a Firewise community with a celebration held at City Hall Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. Texas A&M Forest Service will present an award commending the Buffalo Gap Volunteer Fire Department for their ongoing assistance in maintaining the community’s Firewise status.
Coordinated by the National Fire Prevention Association and Texas A&M Forest Service, the Firewise program targets communities that are at risk for damage from a wildfire. Through the program, each community assesses its wildfire risk and establishes a plan to address those issues.
Because the program encourages relationships between homeowners and fire departments, the Buffalo Gap Volunteer Fire Department is an integral part in maintaining Firewise status.
“Firewise just makes everything safer. At least three of the benefits of the program are getting to make the community Firewise, the community looks better and it actually helps us not flood as bad,” said Buffalo Gap Volunteer Fire Department Chief Dana Sowell. “There is nothing negative about the Firewise program.”
The Buffalo Gap community has faced large wildfires in the past. In April of 2014, the Camp Barkeley fire grew to 1,500 acres before being contained and sections of the community were evacuated. No homes were lost due to the mitigation practices being utilized in the area and the efforts of firefighters.
“When homeowners follow Firewise principles and create defensible space, their homes and properties have a greater chance of surviving a wildfire,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Firewise Coordinator Nick Harrison. “Residents who follow Firewise practices provide a safer environment for firefighters to work to defend the property.”
In response to a national need for education on home mitigation, the National Fire Prevention Association debuted the national Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program in the fall of 2002. The program encourages local mitigation solutions by involving homeowners in preparing homes and landscaping for wildfires.
For more information on the Firewise program visit http://www.firewise.org.
Stacy Harvick, Wildland Urban Interface Specialist
Texas A&M Forest Service Communications Office