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A plan designed to help communities prevent and respond to wildfires was made official Friday when local officials signed the nearly 1,000-page document that has been several years in the making.

Travis County Sam Biscoe, Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr and Texas Forest Service Director Tom Boggus gathered at Austin Community College’s pinnacle campus off U.S. 290 to sign the Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

Council Member Mike Martinez signed the plan in lieu of Mayor Lee Leffingwell, who officials said was not there because he was sick.

Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr signs the Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

The plan is the product of the Joint Wildfire Task Force that Austin and Travis County officials formed after the devastating wildfires Labor Day weekend in 2011.

About 7,000 acres burned and 57 homes were destroyed in Travis County, according to the briefing paper, and 34,000 acres burned and 1,700 homes were destroyed in Bastrop County — the largest per-capita loss in the nation’s history.

The plan isn’t regulatory but rather provides data and guidance for communities on how to develop wildfire mitigation plans at a neighborhood and city level.

The city has also launched an interactive website in which residents can find the wildfire risk near their home.

Source: The Austin American Statesman