Hamilton Greenbelt Wildfire Fuels Reduction Project
In October 2019, the annual budget approved by Lakeway City Council included $350,000 for a massive wildfire fuel reduction project in Hamilton Greenbelt. The entire project is expected to last 18 months or more. The goal is to reduce wildfire intensity in the greenbelt by removing dead wood throughout the entire greenbelt and installing shaded fuel breaks in strategic areas behind homes.
The majority of the fuel reduction work will be performed by contract crews, but volunteer groups have joined the immense cleanup effort. The Cavalier Chapter of Young Men’s Service League led the way by selecting the Hamilton Greenbelt project for their 2019 Ultimate Gift. The energetic group hauled and dragged 17 tons of wood out of Hamilton Greenbelt II during a series of four workdays in November and December 2019. They also delivered printed information on how to protect homes from wildfire to 117 homes around the greenbelt. The YMSL was recognized for their contribution at the January 21, 2020 City Council meeting with a proclamation by Mayor Sandy Cox.
Elmer Tyler and Dave Cross, Lakeway’s own Chainsaw Champions since 2013, have been cutting dead wood and brush into smaller pieces near the Lohmans Crossing Road entrance of Hamilton Greenbelt I to prepare for an influx of youthful volunteers in March. Two volunteer workdays will be held this month, on Thursday March 12 and Saturday March 28.
Lake Travis Middle School and Bee Cave Middle School have offered their yearly Day of Service on March 12 to support the Hamilton Greenbelt project. Two hundred young volunteers will work around the main entrance of Hamilton Greenbelt, dragging cut brush and logs to chippers. The parking lot will be closed from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 12 to protect volunteers from vehicles and vehicles from wood chips.
On Saturday March 28, the River of the Hills Youth Group will haul more dead wood out of the same area. Twenty-six hard-working volunteers dragged 1-1/2 tons of out of Hamilton Greenbelt II on February 29. The group has committed to continue the cleanup effort with additional workdays scheduled monthly.
Beginning March 1, Lake Travis Fire Rescue’s wildland fuels reduction crew will move south into Hamilton Greenbelt I from March through May. Additional contract crews will be hired to continue the work through the summer until all of Hamilton Greenbelt I is cleared. LTFR’s crew will return in fall 2020 to help complete Hamilton Greenbelt I before tackling the less accessible parts of Hamilton Greenbelt II.
Hikers, bikers and other recreationalists should stay clear of the work crews, who will be running chainsaws, utility vehicles, bobcats and chippers. Areas delineated with orange construction cones and yellow caution flagging are off limits.
Lake Travis Fire Rescue’s wildfire crew will be working at the locations shown in the map below from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, Tuesdays through Fridays only. Nearby residents in the 300 block of Duck Lake Drive and the 100-200 blocks of Palos Verdes should expect to hear the chipper running during those hours. The crew will not work Saturdays, Sundays or Mondays.
For more information about this project and other wildfire-related issues in Lakeway, please email Wildfire Mitigation Specialist Chris Rea or call him at 512-645-5840.