Fire Safety – We Are In It Together!

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(Sept. 15, 2011) -- What a year this has been so far! 2011 has challenged first responders all over Texas when it comes to wildfires, and there doesn’t seem to be any huge relief in sight. With little relief in sight, we all need to do our part to get through this dry period together to protect lives and preserve our beautiful campus and community.

In order to keep our UTSA community and San Antonio neighborhoods safe, it’s important to recognize HOW a wildfire can start. The most common ways a person unintentionally starts a fire is by tossing lit cigarettes/cigar butts on the ground, parking vehicles and/or power equipment over dry grass, lighting fireworks, and not tending to planned fire sources (i.e. barbecue pit, campfire). These heat sources can quickly ignite dry grass and brush, and in the right conditions start a fire that not only impacts San Antonio and UTSA operations, but can endanger lives and threaten critical infrastructure and property.

So, what can you do to PREVENT wildfires at UTSA and our surrounding area?

• Remove any dead branches from trees or bushes in your yard.

• Keep grass short by mowing regularly.

• Completely extinguish and dispose of cigarette and cigar butts properly. Do not drop them onto brush or throw them from a car window.

• Do not park vehicles on dry grassy areas - hot exhaust systems, wheel bearings, and car undercarriages can start fires.

• Barbecuing in apartments or on apartment balconies or decks is illegal. It could result in a fine up to $2,000 and cause serious fire damage.

• Keep barbecue grills and propane tanks at least 10 feet from any building or deck. Have a lid and a water source like a hose nearby. Never leave them unattended and place barbecue ashes in a metal container and soak with water.

• Using fireworks within the city limits of San Antonio is illegal. This dangerous activity causes hundreds of grass fires each year.

• Burning trash or other materials is illegal in the City and banned in the County.

• Keep your home clear of brush and debris like dried leaves and twigs, especially your roof and gutters.

Remember, we are all in this together, so please be fire wise and spread the word about the dangers associated with the current drought and wildfire threat. Let’s not add our campus to the 7,330,000* acres of land that has burned in the US this year! To report a fire, call (210) 458-4911 immediately.

Protect our campus, protect our community, and protect yourself – BE FIRE WISE UTSA!

*Source: US Forest Service & Ad Council