CHEROKEE COUNTY (KYTX) - We can't anticipate when wildfires happen, however when they do...it's a great feeling to be as prepared as possible.
CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey explains, for property owners some of the early protection against wildfires, starts with them.
A wildfire can often get completely out of control burning through acres of grass, scorching trees and reducing homes to rubble.
"A wild fire can strike at anytime so it's always good to be aware and vigilant of the risks," said Luke Kancelrz with the Texas A & M Forest Service.
As wildfire season gets closer, the Texas A & M Forest service is teaching a course on how to be *firewise.
Cherokee County Master Gardner Keith Phillips is one of the instructors.
"The purpose of firewise landscaping is to help individuals and communities better prepare themselves to protect their property and homes from wildfire damage," Phillips said.
He says there are several things homeowners can do to keep fires at bay.
- keeping tree branches 16 feet off the ground
-keeping firewood and flammables at least 30 feet from your home
-and laying sidewalks and driveways, and stepping stones (things that won't easily catch fire)
Specialists say, when landscaping your home, it's best to create islands. For example, keep your lower lying bushes together and away from trees. Doing that helps keep fires from jumping into the tree tops.
Phillips said, "Once it's in the tree tops then it's much more dangerous because of the creation of embers that can float hundreds of feet away and land on a house and possibly cause a house fire."
Homeowners should also keep their lawns watered, cut and clear of dead leaves, limbs and grass. Taking preventative measures, should be your best first line of defense.
"That's gonna give your home the best chance of survival," said Kanclerz.