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Wildland-Urban Interface Code under development a year past original adoption date

Friday, April 5, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

As Austin tops lists for U.S. cities at risk of wildfire damage, having a code that accounts for everything from managing vegetation to fire-safe requirements for new development is crucial. However, after Council provided a plan and a timeline for adoption in November 2016, the Austin Fire Department’s Wildland-Urban Interface Code has still not been implemented. Originally, the WUI was to be adopted in January 2018, but KXAN reported that as early as summer 2017 there were delays in its implementation. The timeline has continued to be pushed back, and in an update to the Public Safety Commission on April 1, the Austin Fire Department’s Wildfire Division gave a revised timeline that said, “Due to extensive engagement with key partners … a reasonable target for Council adoption would be early summer of this year, May or June, with actual implementation as early as January 2020.” However, implementation will be contingent on approval of program and personnel funding, neither of which were listed in the fire department’s preliminary 2020 budget.

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