Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Firewise USA Community Award for Central Texas Subdivision
Southwest Region, April 22, 2006
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Success Story

Summer Mountain Ranch, Texas

 Recognized as

a Firewise USA Community!



On April 22, 2006, the Community of Summer Mountain Ranch near the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge (Balcones NWR) in Texas, was recognized as an official Firewise Community USA.  During a Wildland Urban Interface Task Force meeting in 2003, the South Hayes Fire Department Chief, Joel Cliett, who is responsible for protection of Summer Mountain Ranch told the group he had a community who was concerned about the potential threat of wildfire to their community.  Carl Schwope, Fire Management Officer for Balcones NWR recognized an opportunity for public education and to get fuel reduction projects implemented on the ground.  He met with interested landowners and after the initial four signatures, ended up with a Memorandum of Understanding signed by 34 private landowners.


With funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the contracted work was started and completed in November 2003.  Known as the Summer Mountain Ranch Landowners Defensible Space Demonstration Project, 185 acres were treated on 37 different tracts of land.  The average tract size was about five acres.  As other property owners saw the visually pleasing effect of the fuel reduction treatments, and realized the increased protection it could offer from wildfire, more of them wanted to became involved.  P.J. Pearson from the Texas State Forest Service began working with the additional property owners and as the Firewise liaison for the Texas State Forest Service, he recognized that the work they were doing could make them eligible for Firewise recognition status.  P.J. took the effort started by the USF&WS and worked with the community to meet the eligibility criteria for Firewise USA which cumulated in the recognition ceremony in April 2006.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov
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