Hays County still lacks wildfire protection plan

File wildfire photo (Eric Paul Zamora/The Fresno Bee via AP)
File wildfire photo (Eric Paul Zamora/The Fresno Bee via AP)

WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — With possible red flag warnings in the next few days, not having a wildfire protection plan can be dangerous. Hays County reports they still do not have a wildfire protection plan in place due to unexpected May floods.

The Hays County Fire Marshall’s Office says the high risk areas are on the west side. Cities like Wimberley are more susceptible because there are in a large area of land full of dry grass. The Wimberley Volunteer Fire Chief says he can’t wait for the county to come up with a plan, so he will use his own.

That is good news for Tina Rodriguez, who has lived on Purgatory Road for more than 20 years. She says the land looks more parched than ever. “[These] are drier areas, drier times,” Rodriguez says.

To protect residents like Rodriguez, Chief Czichos says his plan is to stay on the offensive, “We want to make sure all the trucks are up and everything is up, ready to go for it.”

That will be especially important on Tuesday when red flag warnings are possible. Czichos says a quick response to any report of a fire starting is key. “With the public calling us early, then we can get out quick enough and they are relatively small.”

Since some homeowners like Tina live in more isolated areas, it will take firefighters longer to respond if a fire does start. Thats’ why Tina is doing her part, just in case. “We are cutting down the trimming until there is a time when we can burn it,” Rodriguez says.

Hays County, along with most counties in Central Texas, are currently under a burn ban. Czichos says that has helped reduce the number of brush fires.

We first told you about Hays County’s lack of a wildfire protection plan in a KXAN investigation earlier this year. Williamson County officials told us they still don’t have a plan in place either. They say the flooding in May and June has taken precedence, but they are waiting on a $500,000 grant from FEMA to pay for a large brush-clearing project.

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