Daniel Duncum is with the Texas Forest Service. He helps rural home owners plan what's called 'defensible space,' the area around your home that can protect you and your family in case of an approaching fire.
He says for people about to build a home, the right materials are key. He says hardy board works well for siding.
"It's actually a mix of wood and cement, and that type of material would be really good," says Duncum.
Double-pane windows and non-wood shingles would also help.
For older homes, defensible space is about maintenance. Keep limbs trimmed up about 15 feet off the ground, and keep them away from chimney tops. Landscaping around the foundation of your home should be low to the ground, and beds should be mulched with something like this bark which would take a little while to ignite. Finally, a border around your home can act as an additional fire block.
The principals work in reverse too. If a fire were to start in your house, a good defensible barrier could prevent it from spreading across your yard and into adjacent trees or fields.
"We don't have enought Volunteer Fire Departments or Texas Forest Service personnel or equipment to get around to everybody, but if people will begin to protect their homes, they'll buy some time for the firefighters to get to them," says Duncum.
He hopes people will heed his warnings and practice prevention so no other homes will be lost to wildland fires.