Residents of the Barton Creek Lakeside neighborhood in Spicewood learned one major lesson from last September’s massive wildfire: they needed to be proactive when it comes to fire prevention.
The neighborhood on the south side of Lake Travis is just one of 47 in Texas to be recognized as “Firewise,” a designation handed down from the National Fire Protection Association.
The Spicewood Fire was one of several fires last September that ravaged the Central Texas landscape. Since then, residents of the Barton Creek Lakeside neighborhood have worked to build a safer community, spending a combined $200,000 to clear brush.
"You can ask people to clean up their property, you can make them in some cases, but there is a limit to what you can really do," resident Jim Lamar said.
In the neighborhood of 250 homes, work continues on one house touched by the flames. The house itself was saved, but some of the property was destroyed.
"There was such a wind coming through here that it did get this garage here,” building contractor Gary Cunningham said. “There was a car sitting out here and it probably ignited first."
Cunningham understands the importance of creating defensible space.
"Everybody I am sure has heard that by now. You need to get brush and everything back away from you property," Cunningham said.
Nearby subdivisions Rivercliff and Cypress Hills also are clearing brush for fire protection.