Travis County has started curbside pickup of tree debris for unincorporated areas following Winter Storm Mara that tore through Central Texas from Jan. 31-Feb. 2.

"Debris collection is expected to take many weeks due to a high number of service requests and the high volume of fallen branches caused by the historic storm," said Travis County public information officer Yoojin Cho.

The Transportation and Natural Resources Department has created a jurisdiction map to show which areas will receive these services. Areas shaded on the map indicate city jurisdictions, which means those residents should contact their city to inquire about any pickup services that may be available to them, Cho said.

Residents who need to dispose of tree limbs before curbside makes it to their residence can do so at several drop-off locations in the county. Those are: Northeast Metropolitan Park, 15500 Sun Light Near Way, Pflugerville; Mansfield Dam Park, 4370 Mansfield Dam Park Road, Austin; and Austin Water's Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plan, 2210 FM 973, Austin. All sites listed are free for residents to drop off storm debris such as tree limbs, branches, shrubs and leaves.

"We started pickup on Saturday morning [Feb. 25] on the east side of the county, and we plan to start on the west side tomorrow [on March 1]," said Cynthia McDonald from the Travis County Transportation and Natural Resources Department. "So far, we have picked up 278 loads of storm debris, which is about 13,586 cubic yards."

McDonald said that in the past, residents have been responsible for their own debris cleanup.

"But, because this was so widespread, we have been directed to pick up debris along county roadways," she said."If it's open to the public, we can pick up and haul away debris from the right of ways."

However, for those in gated communities, a right of way document would need to be signed by the property owner as it is considered private property.

Brigid Shea, Precinct 2 commissioner, said during the meeting that it is imperative for residents to remember they should not pile their brush together because that creates a fire hazard. Instead, debris should be kept in small piles—about 4-5 feet in length—within 10 feet of the curb for easy pickup.

For more information about cleanup in the county, visit the Travis County Office of Emergency Management website.