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San Jacinto News Times - Local News

Copyright 2017 - Polk County Publishing Company

 

County develops wildfire protection plan

 

San Jacinto County has developed a plan that will better prepare the community for wildfires. The Community Wildfire Protection Plan is the 18th countywide CWPP in Texas. It was developed by San Jacinto County officials, local volunteer fire departments, emergency service districts personnel, representatives from the Sam Houston National Forest and Texas A&M Forest Service. San Jacinto County applied for the Statewide Community Wildfire Protection Grant and upon completion of the CWPP, was awarded $10,000. The grant, administered by Texas A&M Forest Service, is federally funded to provide for writing and producing a communitywide protection plan and mitigation projects for fuel reduction. The CWPP promotes healthy ecosystems through wildfire risk assessments, addressing structural ignitability, promoting wildfires awareness programs and identifying strategically placed hazardous fuel reduction projects, with a goal of improving safety of residents and emergency personnel and minimizing the number of homes destroyed by wildfires. In a statement San Jacinto County Judge John Lovett said, "Our county is growing at a pace much greater than our historical average and the rate of growth is accelerating. We must be proactive to meet our needs and face the challenges that lie ahead. We are now on the border between rural wildlands and urban expanse. My motivation to create our CWPP is to avoid the catastrophic destruction caused by wildfire from happening here; like that in Bastrop in 2011 and recently in Tennessee. "The creation of this plan will enable our VFD's and emergency personnel to acquire the tools needed to increase response times, thus lowering insurance rates throughout the county. I cannot thank my Special Programs Coordinator, Sandra Lantz, enough for her tireless efforts in creating our CWPP. The long-term benefits of this plan will be immeasurable. This is just another way I am trying to increase the efficiency of local government and improve the lives of the residents of San Jacinto County." The wildland urban interface occurs where developed areas intermingle with undeveloped areas. Often, this area is adjacent to property where actions can be taken to prevent damage or loss from wildfire. Due to its location, the wildland urban interface creates a challenging environment for wildfire suppression and evacuations. San Jacinto County's completion of the CWPP outlines potential wildfire mitigation and prevention efforts. "San Jacinto County demonstrated initiative and leadership throughout the process," said Texas A&M Forest Service Wildland Urban Interface Specialist Stuart Coombs. "We appreciate their proactive approach to complete the process and look forward to assisting with implementation." A CWPP recognition ceremony was scheduled to be held during a regularly scheduled Commissioner's Court meeting at the San Jacinto County Courthouse Feb. 14 at 9 a.m. To learn about Community Wildfire Protection Plans, Firewise concepts and protecting your community visit http:// tfsweb.tamu.edu/ProtectYour- Community/

 

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