Which areas of Austin at highest risk of wildfires?

The other day the Public Safety Commission recommended that City Council adopt a Wildland Urban Interface Code, a distinct set of land use regulations geared toward reducing the risk of wildfires. Here’s a map of the city based on wildfire risk.

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As you can see, the great majority of what we’d refer to as the urban core (bounded by MoPac, Ben White and US-183) is not identified as at risk of wildfire. Why? Areas at the highest risk (red) are directly interacting with wildland that is likely to catch fire. The areas of lower risk, in green and blue, are within striking distance of embers from wildfires.

According to a city analysis, 62% of homes in Austin are outside of the no-risk areas. That tells you everything you need to know about how the city has grown over the past few decades. We have prevented housing in the urban core and pushed growth out onto the fringes, eating up more wildland.

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