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Fire Report Says Homes Need Bigger Buffer

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Aerial view of burned area around Bastrop on September 6, 2011. (credit: Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

AUSTIN (AP) – Texas Forest Service officials say last year’s devastating Bastrop County wildfire has shown that the vegetation-free area around a home should extend beyond the long-accepted recommendation of 30 feet.

The Austin American Statesman reported Thursday that a study designed to help prepare for future wildfires found that 85 percent of homes consumed by the most destructive blaze in Texas history had a so-called defensible space of at least 30 feet.

Forest service researcher Karen Ridenour, author of the Bastrop Complex Wildfire Case Study, didn’t provide a specific recommendation, but noted that California state law requires a 100-foot radius that’s clear of vegetation.

The Bastrop wildfire that started on Labor Day weekend in 2011 burned 32,400 acres and destroyed 1,696 homes in Central Texas. Two people died.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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