Danny Al-betal, left, with William Weldon, members of the Lost Pines Strike Team from Bastrop, cut limbs at The Ranch this week to expand a Shaded Fire Break along an old fence line as part of the Firewise program to reduce the danger of fires in areas where homes are located. (Mark Engebretson)
Possum Kingdom Lake has seen the effects of wildfires.
In 2009, it was the West Side; in 2011 it was the PK Complex; and later that year, the 101 Ranch Fire. Each spread quickly and destroyed not only the countryside, but homes and buildings.
Following the 2011 fires, The Ranch began an effort to reduce the spread and intensity of wild fires - Firewise. After receiving recognition from the Texas A&M Forest Service in 2012, that work continues today.
"The Ranch is a Firewise community," said Nick Harrison, information officer with the TFS.
This week, TFS personnel from Bastrop and Merkel were at The Ranch, expanding and clearing a Shaded Fire Break.
"It's designed to reduce the fire intensity," said Harrison. "It's raising the canopy to lift
Members of the Texas A&M Forest Service task force from Merkel and Bastrop are at The Ranch to work on expanding a Shaded Fire Break at The Ranch this week. The work was paid through a National Fire Plan grant for Firewise communities. (Mark Engebretson)
lower limbs off the ground."
He explained that fire can travel from grass and brush into trees where there are low limbs, a "ladder effect." By removing the lower limbs, fire has less chance to enter the forested canopy and spread quickly. He also said that the trimming process does not affect shading of the ground, which reduces the brush and grass growth.
"This work is being done by the Texas A&M Fire Service through a National Fire Plan grant," he said. "We try to tie these to communities that are Firewise or communities-counties with a Wildfire Protection Plan."
Patty Reding, with The Ranch, said firebreaks were cut along the property line adjoining the Brazos River Authority,
"We put in the firebreak itself with the cooperation of BRA," Reding said.
Firewise is a program to help homeowners, communities and developers better protect homes through landscaping and planting fire-resistant plants. Go to http://firewise.org for more information.
Also, contact Harrison at 817-894-4761 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Reding, 940-779-2000, for information on the requirements and steps to take to become eligible for assistance from TFS.