FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2011
CHECK PRESENTATION PLANNED
Will Recognize Barefoot Resort’s Steps Toward Becoming ‘FIREWISE’
(North Myrtle Beach, SC) Fire managers with the South Carolina Forestry Commission will present Barefoot Resort community members with a check for $29,475.00 Friday afternoon. The state agency awards these federal dollars to neighborhoods and municipalities which participate in the national Firewise program.
Barefoot Resort suffered greatly from the April, 2009 Highway 31 Wildfire, which was the most damaging in state history. With flame tops at times reaching more than 200 ft. in height, the fire burned more than 19,000 acres and damaged or destroyed more than 170 homes. Since then, collaboration between the Forestry Commission and Barefoot Resort has resulted in a community which today is far less vulnerable to wildfire. This check will help the community off-set the costs of this project which was large in scope. Priority areas included:
- Areas with burned underbrush and dead or stressed trees present situated within 100 feet of the homes.
- Areas with little if any underbrush but dead trees within 100 feet of the homes.
- Areas with underbrush and trees burned or not, but within 100 feet of the homes.
Zones susceptible to “re-burn” due to the debris left behind in ’09, pine straw or other litter which has fallen on the ground since then, and those areas with hazardous trees within 100 feet of homes were given top priority. This totaled approximately 65.5 acres on which underbrush and dead/dying vegetation (the fuel in wildfires) was eliminated by mulching it on site.
But the work didn’t end there according to the Forestry Commission’s Mike Bozzo the Forestry Commission’s Firewise coordinator, “Omni Management and Barefoot Resort homeowners should be commended for taking the project much further,” Bozzo said. “They insisted on clearing all the previously burned areas too, totaling 200 acres!”
The check effectively reimburses the community for the first 1/3 of that total acreage, i.e., the most vulnerable areas which, if they were to burn today, would immediately threaten homes and lives.
“It’s so fulfilling to see these folks take the Firewise program and expand on it to this degree,” said Bozzo, who was the Incident Commander in charge of the entire multi-agency response nearly two years ago as the Highway 31 Fire kept Horry County in the national headlines daily.
“They still have some work ahead of them,” says Scott Hawkins, public information director for the Forestry Commission. “But we have no doubt they’ll soon join the 13 other communities across the state which have earned the designation as a Firewise Community/USA.”
Nearby Walkers Woods, The Farm at The Carolina Forest and Briarcliffe Acres achieved Firewise Communities/USA status since the Highway 31 Fire having met the following criteria:
1) Complete an assessment and develop a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)
2) Establish and maintain an active Firewise Council
3) Invest at least $2 per capita each year in wildfire protection work
4) Conduct/sponsor an annual Firewise workday involving community members
5) Submit an annual report documenting Firewise activities
According to the program’s website, The National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Firewise Communities program encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others in the effort to protect people and property from the risk of wildfire.
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For more information, call Scott Hawkins @ 803-360-2231
For every $1.00 invested by SC in the Commission, forest industry produces about $1,800.00 of economic impact.