West Austin Business Delivers Wildfire Solutions
By: Integrity Construction & Remodeling
There is a great amount of interest in NOT having parts of Austin become the next Camp Fire.
This summer, Austin firefighter Randy Denzer hosted two California firefighters who were in town for a statewide symposium. On the way to dinner, he drove up Loop 360 toward RM 2222 and onto Spicewood Springs Road, passing thousands of rooftops among the rolling green slopes and ridgetops. Just months before, Denzer's guests had fought the Camp Fire, the worst in California history, which killed 85 people and destroyed almost 20,000 structures. What they saw in West Austin was alarming.
CoreLogic's 2019 Wildfire Risk Report ranked Austin as the fifth-highest metro area at risk of wildfire in the western United States, with only California cities preceding it.
Council Member Alison Alter, whose District 10 includes much of Austin's western edge, has likewise described the risk as "enormous" and says her constituents are "absolutely aware" of it. Denzer, a battalion chief with the Austin Fire Department who serves on the International Association of Fire Fighters' Wildland Fire Fighter Task Force, explains that this is due to increasing vegetative fuel, which grows prolifically during wet springs and then dries out in hot, rainless summers; the location of homes near undeveloped areas (referred to as "wildlands"); and inadequate management.
Denzer and AFA President Bob Nicks are hoping City Council will soon adopt a pending WUI Code, which would give AFD the authority to enforce building, construction, and vegetation standards to improve wildland firefighting operations and reduce structure ignition and the spread of fire. Austin would be the first city in Texas to have such a code. According to a June AFD presentation, the Camp Fire destroyed 82% of structures built before California's WUI code, compared with 49% of structures built after.
PRL Products and Services is based in the Heart of West Austin, and has the experience and expertise to retrofit houses in that area.
512 687 1112.
Margaret Hutchison, PhD
Integrity Construction & Remodeling