March 02--SUN CITY TEXAS -- More than 15 people watched a battle in Sun City Texas on Wednesday between a large ashe juniper tree and a man on a machine with mulching blades. The tree lost in just a few minutes.
It was all part of a tour that some members of the Sun City Community Association were hosting for a national fire association to show off the community's award-winning efforts to prevent fires.
Sun City has been designated as an official Firewise Communities/USA site by the National Fire Protection Association since 2009. To get the designation the association had to obtain a wildfire risk assessment from a state forestry agency create and carry out an action plan and hold events to educate the public.
Sun City is a retirement community in Georgetown, which has wooded areas behind homes.
Dan Dodson, chairman of education for the community association's fire prevention efforts, showed people on the tour Wednesday where shrubs and brush had been cleared to create a fire break in a wooded area along a nature trail in Sun City.
To prevent fire from spreading quickly the cedar trees had also been "limbed up" which means that any of their branches growing below six feet had been cut, Dodson said.
He pointed out that piles of mulch from clearing efforts were left on the ground to help retain soil moisture and to promote grass growth, Dodson said.
The Sun City Community Association has been very successful in getting residents involved in fire prevention, said Michele Steinberg, a Firewise Communities Manager.
"It has 49 people trained to help evaluate neighbors for fire risks,"she said.
The association has 75 volunteers for its clearing crews, said Paul Ohlenbusch, who is part of the community association's fire prevention efforts. Ohlenbusch taught grazing land management for 28 years at Kansas State University.
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