Wild land fires can travel at speeds up to 30 miles an hour, said Harker Heights Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Gallenstein.

That’s why the department is hosting its first ever Wild Fire Awareness event for the community this weekend.

“We are going to try to do them annually,” Gallenstein said. “With the recent wild land fires, we are trying to do some education to help prevent these type of things from happening.”

Firefighters will be out in full force to interact with citizens during the awareness event. Gallenstein said they will also point out areas in the city that are more prone to wild land fires.

“We will have maps of the area and talking about defensible space and how they can make their house more protected from wild land fires,” he said. “There are areas that have a high likelihood of burning down and no way we could save them, and so we want to make sure to get the information out to them.”

Some important tips include cutting down tree limbs near your homes, cleaning out gutters, and ensuring firewood and propane are several feet away from the home.

“We will talk about the things the fire department will need in order to protect their homes,” he said. “It’s the things that you don’t think of until the day of that get you in trouble and we want to be proactive and not reactive.”

He said the one thing that residents should avoid doing is to fight the fire themselves.

“What we don’t want is people staying and trying to fight it … that’s when people get killed.”

The fire department will also have static displays of their equipment and vehicles, as well as food and drinks for participants. The Texas Forestry Service will be on hand during the event.

The Wild Fire Awareness event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Harker Heights Community Park, 1501 E. Farm-to-Market 2410.

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