Responding to an increased risk of wildfire, Austin became the first major city in Texas to adopt a code aimed at curbing wildfires.
The action came after an internal audit suggested the action could reduce the risk of wildfires, particularly in areas outside the urban core. The new ordinance is based on the International Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Code.
Austin’s Public Safety Commission had recommended tighter wildfire protection standards for structures built between the city’s wildlands and urban center, and endorsed the adoption of a WUI code. In April 2020, the city council unanimously adopted the code—an action that came after four years of study and planning.
The new WUI code requires that all new homes and businesses constructed near wildland areas be built with special ignition-resistant construction materials, and mandates the safe storage of combustible materials like liquefied petroleum gas. Properties that are particularly vulnerable could be required to better manage vegetation.