Fire safety expert provides tips to keep your home safe from wildfires

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Although clearing the area around your home can help, fire safety expert Jeffrey Shapiro says you should evacuate your home before you feel things become dangerous.

AUSTIN, Texas — With the Rolling Pines wildfire in Bastrop County having forced hundreds of families from their homes as a precaution, KVUE checked in with a fire safety expert to learn how homeowners can better protect their homes.

If you’re within a mile of a fire, or even just in Austin, Jeffrey Shapiro said you should start clearing out the area outside of your home, specifically about 30 feet. 

He said things like leaf debris and wood are combustible, and even the metal or plastic in your outside furniture.

“If you have combustible furniture outside, if you have combustible storage under the deck, you want to get that away from the home. Firewood or mats near the door, anything that’s combustible,” said Shapiro.

He said one of the most important things you can do is evacuate your home before you feel things have become dangerous. He said this can prevent a bigger disaster. 

“If everyone decides at the last minute to evacuate all at once, the roads can clog very quickly. And there have been many incidents around the world where fire has actually overrun the evacuation routes, and people are trapped in their cars,” he said.

If you’re in need of a place to shelter, you can head to the Elgin Recreational Center. If you need a place for your livestock, you can go to the Bastrop Area Livestock Show Barn and Bastrop Rodeo Arena. Officials ask residents to call Junior Tucker at 512-653-8903 or Hillary Long at 512-657-7056 before bringing any animals. 

Shapiro also said if you have any fire inside or outside your house, make sure to take videos so you can show it to your insurance provider later.  


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