Creating a Safer & More Beautiful Down Home Ranch

In 2006, a fire at a neighbor's ranch got us to thinking about fire dangers. We were the first responders and could have put it out had we gotten there a couple of minutes earlier, but firefighters showed up to put it out—including a contingent from the Texas Forest Service. That was the beginning of a great new relationship that is helping Down Home Ranch become a safer place.

In 2007 we held the first Annual Texas Chainsaw Manicure and it's been a rousing success. Working with the Forest Service we became a Firewise Community—one of only 94 in Texas. We've created “defensible space” around the residential areas of the Ranch and are continually working to manage the upkeep. We have also instituted policies and procedures that make it possible for us to react quickly and keep everyone safe.

The Bastrop fire over Labor Day Weekend in 2011 was a grim reminder of just how important this work is. The worst fire disaster in the state's history consumed more than 1,500 homes and 34,000 acres just a few miles south of us. Everyone on the Ranch has friends and family who have been directly affected by these fires. We were on full alert for several days and could see huge smoke clouds to our south.

Thank you to all who have volunteered over the years and worked so hard at each of our annual Chainsaw Manicures. Today our “defensible space”—areas cleared of grasses, shrubs, and brush between buildings and thick wooded areas—is greatly expanded, creating a safer habitat for those who live and work at Down Home Ranch.

And, as we plan for the future, we welcome your donations to help us purchase equipment to continue support our work in keeping all of our Ranchers, staff and visitors safe in the event that a fire comes our way.