Williamson Co. starts defensible space work in Georgetown to prevent wildfires

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GEORGETOWN, Texas — Saturday and Sunday, crews from Team Rubicon will remove dead trees and underbrush that could play a vital role if fire burns through the area.

“We’re cutting ladder fuels, the fuels going up to the trees about up to 9 feet,” Kimberly Stevens said. “We’re leaving the canopy, we’re leaving the trees. We’re not creating a fire break where you cut down everything – it’s just the fuels in between.”

Team Rubicon volunteered to do the job. It’s the first time the Central Texas veteran group is taking part in preventing disaster. According to Stevens, the volunteers respond to disasters after they happen.

“Not only are our saw teams getting cut time as we call it, so they’re practicing, also our command staff like myself, we are practicing also so that when we get out on operations we know our teams, we know what’s locally capable,” Stevens said.

Williamson County accepted Team Rubicon’s volunteer work with open arms. The county approved the Community Wildfire Protection Plan in 2018 with plans to remove fire fuels from nine separate Parks and Recreation areas as well as county preserves.

“They saw the different mitigation projects that we have so they reached out to us … and asked if they could come out and provide a service for us for free,” Michael Shoe, the Williamson County emergency management coordinator, said.


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Shoe noted the importance of doing this work now while the weather is relatively cooler and wetter than summer months. He emphasized creating defensible space around homes.

“As we encroach onto nature, we’re going to of course escalate and raise the wildfire risk associated with that,” Shoe said.

Crews started their work on Cat Cave Preserve in Georgetown – the smallest of the nine county areas. Team Rubicon will be removing trees and brush from a 50-foot wide area around the preserve to create space between the forestry and nearby homes.

According to county documents on the entire project, estimates put the fuel removal at $5,000.

The trees and brush will be turned into mulch to be spread across the areas from where they originally were taken.


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