Resource Protection > Wildfire Prevention
90% of all wildfires in Texas are caused by people and their activities.
When Texas was largely unsettled, wildfires destroyed natural resources and wildlife habitat but had relatively little impact on people. Today, as Texas' population continues to grow, many homes, subdivisions and businesses lie within or near previously undeveloped areas of grass, brush and forests. As a result, nearly every wildfire carries an increased risk for damage or destruction of homes and other improved property - and even loss of lives.
Over the last two years, 80% of the wildfires in Texas have occurred within two miles of a community - so it's quickly being understood that wildland fires are not just a problem for rural homeowners. Surprisingly, many populated areas are more at risk, due to the increased number of human-caused fires.
People and their activities cause more than 90% of all wildfires in the state. Careless debris burning (of household trash, brush and leaf piles, garden spots, etc.) results in the largest number of human-caused wildfires. Other significant wildfire causes include sparks from welding and grinding equipment, carelessly discarded smoking materials, hot vehicle pollution control equipment and arson.
Texas Forest Service assigns a high priority to year-round wildfire prevention activities that reduce risks to citizens and property. Because wildfires in Texas primarily result from the actions of people, wildfire prevention campaigns targeting people-caused wildfires can significantly reduce the number of wildfires -- and wildfire losses. A three-step approach to fire prevention can focus prevention efforts.
Three-Step Approach: Education, Engineering, and Enforcement