WESTLAKE HILLS, Texas (KXAN) - The extended drought has put much of Texas at risk for wildfire and no place holds as much potential disaster than Westlake Hills.
"We have the potential here and that is why everyone is pulling together," said Emergency Service District 9 Chief Michael Lacey.
Westlake's light hills and canyons combined with thick cedar trees and dense population of homes would make a fire disastrous and difficult to fight.
Neighborhoods began expressing concerns after the Labor Day fires of 2011 that destroyed homes in Bastrop and Steiner Ranch.
ESD 9 began looking at ways to curtail the fire risk and they believe a new fire code could be a solution.
"With this code and what we have been pushing on the education side, we want to clean up the dead brush," said Lacey.
The International Wildland Urban Interface Code requires homeowners to keep their trees and landscaping maintained in such a fashion that it would ease fire risk.
"We have properties where the tree line comes up to the house and we want to keep the brush from bringing the fire up to the home," said Lacey.
The code is in the implementation process and also enforces certain aspects of a home's exterior.
Lacey does not want the new wildland code to be viewed as a mandate so much as a partnership between neighbors and the ESD.
"The target is to work closely with property owners with their landscaping and design features of their home."
ESD 9 is determining which areas are most at risk and where the code should be applied.
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Sub-freezing temperatures will continue across much of Central Texas all day Saturday. A second disturbance associated with the winter storm that slammed Texas Thursday and Friday could lead to more freezing precipitation Saturday and …