College Station Identifies At-Risk Neighborhoods for Wildfire

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COLLEGE STATION - College Station is expanding into surrounding rural communities and first responders are preparing to fight potential wildfires in the area.

It's summertime and with hotter temperatures and less rainfall...wildfires are only a spark away.

The College Station Fire Department worked with the Texas A&M Forest Service for two years to develop a comprehensive plan of attack, known as the Community Wildfire Protection Plan, or CWPP.

"We went out and did a survey amongst the town to see where our high risk and low-risk areas were," said Captain Tim Hamff with the College Station Fire Department.

They rated 30 wild land neighborhoods based on their risk for wildfire activity from low to extreme.

"There are a few high risk areas that are in the area. One of those is the Glen Oaks mobile home park and the other is the Wellborn Oaks community out toward Wellborn," Hamff said.

In fact, Wellborn Oaks got an "extreme risk rating" because of dense vegetation...not to mention the fact that there are no fire hydrants to help emergency responders.

Other "high risk" neighborhoods had many of the same issues, like mobile homes made of vinyl and other combustible materials, which, together with wooden decks, make them targets for runaway flames.

"When we're out on wildfires or structural fires, we're constantly learning new things each day and training on the job, so we're constantly learning," said Andrea Ferrell, who coordinates wildfire training with CSFD.

The CWPP incorporates that experience.

"We have a 'Ready, Set, Go!' program that we do through the fire department that we can help them with learning how to evacuate and also on how to do some mitigation efforts to help reduce those hazards around their home," Hamff said.

While the community is expected to contribute by developing a plan of action, fire officials will do their part by enforcing building codes that are designed to keep everyone safe.