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Wildfire protection techniques for Permian Basin communities

Adding fire-resistant materials can be extremely effective in protecting homes and other buildings from wildfires

MIDLAND, Texas — Wildfires have ravaged communities in Texas like the Eastland fires that burned down buildings of our neighbors in Central Texas. 

Fires are a growing concern around the country.

"Trends are indicating that wildfires are increasing with respect to duration, severity and frequency meaning that they're burning a lot longer, they're bigger, they're hotter, they're more frequent and they're more costly than ever," said Dr. Kimiko Barrett with Headwaters Economics.

The good news is there are some options when it comes to protecting homes and communities.

"It's planning measures like requiring wildfire resistant materials, retrofitting the existing fleet of houses out there and improving neighborhood design and infrastructure protections that people in homes are better prepared before a wildfire," Barrett said.

Adding these fire-resistant materials doesn't have to break the bank.

"Basic mitigation measures in terms of construction materials also known as home-hardening can be done in a pretty negligible and cost differential from what would be traditional building materials, so siding hearty plank or cement is much more resistant than wood siding and it's actually cheaper," Barrett said.

There's also other simple housekeeping things you do to your home.

"It's things like clearing your roof lines of pine needles, cleaning your gutters making sure your deck doesn't have propane on it during a wildfire, clearing your yard of vegetation especially up near the side of your home," Barrett said. "So these are things that can go a long way in reducing your vulnerability during a wildfire." 

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