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Etoile, Texas

The story from Etoile, Texas shows how you don’t have to be ‘big’ to make a big difference in your community. The station covered efforts by middle school students at the Etoile Independent School District (Etoile ISD) who have been working to make their school – and community – Firewise since 2008.

Students from EtoileIn response to Texas’ deadly wildfire season this summer and fall, the Etoile school’s Firewise committee has worked to educate parents, peers and neighbors about reducing the risk of wildfire. They even got their hands dirty and went out into the community cleaning up debris and creating defensible spaces around homes. 

“You don’t have to be a grown up to make a difference. And, you don’t have to be big to make a difference. These kids might be little, but they’re making a big difference in the community,” said Texas Forest Service Firewise liason, Jan Amen.

In September, researchers from the University of Florida visited the ‘Firewise school’ to conduct a case study on youth wildfire preparedness. “It’s really exciting to see these kids get involved and get excited and know that they’re making a difference,” said University of Florida professor, Martha Monroe.

This past summer, Etoile had five wildfires in one week. Now, due to increased drought conditions, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) forecasts Texas’ wildfire season will persist through December. With their town still in the line of wildfire, students of Etoile ISD will push forward with their community-based Firewise efforts.

Firewise practices in Etoile