HOA kicks off neighborhood FireWise effort in 2018

In 2018, the HOA is kicking off a major wildfire awareness and prevention initiative. We’ll launch this project at the January 24th meeting of the HOA directors (7pm at the Church at Canyon Creek) where we’ll hear from Linda Haynie of the Austin Fire Department’s FireWise program. The FireWise program teaches people how to adapt to living with wildfire risk and encourages neighbors to work together and take action now to prevent losses. The goal of FireWise landscaping is to keep a ground fire low and less intense by removing potential fuel sources and prevent fire from climbing into the tree canopy where it can spread more easily.

Our initial effort in this first phase will focus specifically on reducing the risk of fire spreading to and/or from residents’ private property and the HOA’s canyon lands and greenbelt. The initial objectives will concentrate on two key areas:

  • Fire load reduction on members’ own private property, and
  • Removal of fire-load caused by the inappropriate and prohibited use of HOA greenbelt and canyon land to dump yard waste, brush and other debris

We need everyone on the greenbelt to participate in this important project by ensuring their property and adjoining greenbelt space is free of yard waste, brush and other debris in the area immediately behind your home. Subsequent work days will focus on reduction of fire load through selective cutting and removal of potential fuel. Wildfire does not care if debris behind your property was discarded by you or not; we must all work together to ensure successful risk reduction. If you are physically unable to participate and need assistance with cutting and debris removal, please let us know so that we can help coordinate volunteers.

This initial cleanup phase is scheduled to take advantage of the City of Austin’s large brush collection on Monday, February 12, 2018 but it’s not too early to start cleaning up around your home now and staging debris for haul out in February. Owners looking to get a jump on future work may begin applying the FireWise guidelines as summarized below:

  • Within 15’ of either side of the Lot fence between your own property and the HOA greenbelt, non-hardwood species (juniper, yaupon, etc.) should be completely removed; When working on the HOA greenbelt, all such activities are prohibited during the months of March through July (inclusive) for warbler nesting season;
  • On your own property, within 100’ of the home structure, non-hardwood species should be removed beneath the canopy of any hardwoods (oak, walnut, etc.)
  • On your own property, within 200’ of the home structure, trees should be pruned up to ten feet from the ground and woody debris such as dead branches removed;

In the future we plan to undertake (and allow) more extensive maintenance measures on the HOA greenbelt but this requires coordination with several outside entities due to the conservation easement that protects the various endangered species therein. In the meantime there are many volunteer opportunities available to assist us with this effort. We need folks who can distribute door-to-door hang tags, operate chainsaws and chippers, haul brush, etc.

We have a lot more information coming in the next few weeks and please contact board@canyoncreek.net with any questions or to get on our volunteer list.

The January meeting will be held at 7pm on the 24th in the portable buildings at the Church at Canyon Creek.