September is National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month (NPM) is recognized each September to promote family and community disaster planning now and throughout the year. As our nation continues to respond to COVID-19, there is no better time to be involved this September.

Check out Ready.gov/September for a list of strategies you and your family can make to be ready when disaster strikes.

Make sure you are signed up at WarnCentralTexas.org to get free Emergency Alerts right to your phone or email.

And for added protection check out the NFPA.org blog for more help guiding building owners and facility managers, first responders, health care facility managers, electrical professionals, and the public with even more preparedness tips.

Reduce the Risk of Wildfire

Before a wildfire threatens your area…

In and around your home

  • Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
  • Remove dead vegetation and other items from under your deck or porch, and within 10 feet of the house. Learn more about the basics of defensible space on the Firewise website.
  • Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
  • Remove flammable materials (firewood stacks, propane tanks) within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house, deck or porch.
  • Wildfire can spread to tree tops. Prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
  • Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
  • Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
  • Inspect shingles or roof tiles. Replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration.
  • Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent sparks from entering the home.
  • Enclose under-eave and soffit vents or screens with metal mesh to prevent ember entry.
  • Learn more about how to protect your home and property at www.firewise.org.

Creating an emergency plan

  • Assemble an emergency supply kit and place it in a safe spot. Remember to include important documents, medications and personal identification.
  • Develop an emergency evacuation plan and practice it with everyone in your home.
  • Plan two ways out of your neighborhood and designate a meeting place.
  • Learn more about emergency preparedness planning on NFPA’s emergency planning webpage.

In your community:

  • Contact your local planning/zoning office to find out if your home is in a high wildfire risk area, and if there are specific local or county ordinances you should be following.
  • If you are part of a homeowner association, work with them to identify regulations that incorporate proven preparedness landscaping, home design and building material use.
  • Talk to your local fire department about how to prepare, when to evacuate, and the response you and your neighbors can expect in the event of a wildfire.
  • Learn about wildfire risk reduction efforts, including how land management agencies use prescribed fire to manage local landscapes.
  • Learn how you can make a positive difference in your community. 

Outdoor Burning Rules

CALL 830 868-7104, SHERIFF DISPATCH, BEFORE STARTING A CONTROLLED BURN OR TO ASK IF A BURN BAN IS IN EFFECT.

Outdoor burning in Texas is regulated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).  The rules are accessible online at https://www.tceq.texas.gov/assets/public/comm_exec/pubs/rg/rg-049.pdf.  Additionally, the County Commissioners Court may, under conditions of extreme fire danger such as drought, high wind, and low humidity, issue a ban on outdoor burning.  The following summarizes some of the rules:

  1. Outdoor Burning is allowed only when wind direction and other meteorological conditions are such that smoke and other pollutants will not adversely affect public road use or structures including but not limited to a residence, business, farm building, or greenhouse that houses humans, livestock, or sensitive live vegetation such as nursery plants, cultivated mushrooms, and plants raised for pharmaceutical production or laboratory research.  Also, burning closer than 300 feet from any such structure is allowable only with the owner’s prior written approval.
  2. Burning shall be conducted only when in compliance with the following considerations:
    1. Begin no earlier than one hour after sunrise and end on the same day no later than one hour before sunset.
    2. A responsible party must attend at all times during the active burn phase when the fire is progressing.
    3. Begin when wind speeds are at least six miles per hour and less than 23 miles per hour.
    4. Do not burn electrical insulation, treated lumber, plastic, non-wood construction/demolition materials, heavy oils, asphaltic materials, potentially explosive materials, chemical wastes, or items containing natural or synthetic rubber.
    5. Do not burn household trash or rubbish; garbage collection services are available in the county.
  3. Exceptions include outdoor burning for recreation, ceremony, warmth, campfires, and cooking fires.

The Fire Department has authority to fine individuals responsible for violations of the outdoor burning rules.  Fines are dependent on the amount of time spent on scene and the amount of equipment and material used.


La quema al aire libre en Texas está regulado por la Comisión de Calidad Ambiental de Texas (TCEQ).  Las reglas están disponibles en línea en https://www.tceq.texas.gov/assets/public/comm_exec/pubs/rg/rg-049.pdf. Además, el Tribunal de Comisionados del Condado puede, bajo condiciones de peligro extremo de incendio, como la sequía, los vientos fuertes y la baja humedad, emitir una prohibición de quemas al aire libre. Lo siguiente resume algunas de las reglas:

  1. La quema en exteriores se permite solo cuando la dirección del viento y otras condiciones meteorológicas son tales que el humo y otros contaminantes no afectarán de manera adversa el uso de las vías públicas o las estructuras que incluyen, entre otras, una residencia, negocio, construcción de una granja o invernadero que alberga humanos, ganado. o vegetación viva sensible como plantas de vivero, hongos cultivados y plantas cultivadas para producción farmacéutica o investigación de laboratorio. Además, la quema a menos de 300 pies de cualquier estructura de este tipo solo se permite con la aprobación previa por escrito del propietario.
  2. La quema se realizará solo cuando se cumpla con las siguientes consideraciones:
    1. No comience antes de una hora después del amanecer y finalice el mismo día no más tarde de una hora antes del atardecer.
    2. Una parte responsable debe asistir en todo momento durante la fase de la quema activa cuando el fuego está progresando.
    3. Comience cuando la velocidad del viento sea de al menos seis millas por hora y menos de 23 millas por hora.
    4. No queme aislamiento eléctrico, madera tratada, plástico, materiales de construcción o demolición que no sean de madera, aceites pesados, materiales asfálticos, materiales potencialmente explosivos, desechos químicos, o artículos que contengan caucho natural o sintético.
    5. No queme la basura; servicios de recolección de basura están disponibles en el condado.
  3. Las excepciones incluyen la quema al aire libre para recreación, ceremonia, calor, fogatas y fuegos para cocinar.

El Departamento de Bomberos tiene autoridad para multar a los individuos responsables de violaciones de las reglas de quema al aire libre. Las multas dependen de la cantidad de tiempo que se pase en la escena y de la cantidad de equipo y material utilizado.