FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2009
FORESTRY COMMISSION RECOGNIZES KEOWEE HARBOURS AS FIREWISE COMMUNITY
(Columbia,SC)–-The South Carolina Forestry Commission is pleased to announce that the community of Keowee Harbours is one of six communities in South Carolina to receive National recognition as a Firewise Communities/USA. The national recognition means the residents of Keowee Harbours respect the wildfire risks associated with living in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and are determined to reduce those risks by implementing Firewise principles. Since the devastating Highway 31 Fire in Horry County earlier this year, these concepts have become more relevant than ever in the Palmetto State.
To become Firewise, Keowee Harbours formed a Firewise Board made up of homeowners and firefighting professionals, including a representative from the SC Forestry Commission and the Keowee Fire District. Keowee Harbours held an education-oriented “How to Have A Firewise Home” workshop for the homeowners and a clean up, or “Chipping Day,” which set the community on course for this important national designation. These events taught the homeowners how to protect their homes by showing them how and where to remove the flammable vegetation around their homes. The board along with SC Forestry Commission representatives assessed more than 20 homes and made recommendations for applying Firewise principles.
As a final piece in becoming a Firewise Community/USA the Firewise Board along with assistance from the SC Forestry Commission and Keowee Fire District developed a Community Wildfire Protection Plan to guide the on-going Firewise actions of the community. Once completed and the volunteer hours logged for the Chipping Day, Keowee Harbours became eligible for the national recognition as a Firewise Community/USA.
The National Fire Protection Association's Firewise Communities team recommends you improve your “home ignition zone”—the house and surrounding area within 100 feet. Following are steps you can take to reduce a home’s vulnerability:
• Use non-combustible construction materials, such as stucco, brick, and fiber cement siding.
• Consider using Class-A asphalt roof shingles, clay tile, or slate roofing materials.
• Prune all trees so the lowest limbs are six to 10 feet from the ground and remove dead or overhanging branches.
• Within five feet of the home, use nonflammable landscaping materials, such as rock, pavers, annuals, and high-moisture-content perennials.
• Select low-growing plants with high moisture content that are free of resins, oils, or waxes that burn easily.
• Remove leaves and pine needles from gutters and around your home and attachments, such as decks and fences.
Keowee Harbour’s national recognition as a Firewise Community/USA makes them eligible for National Fire Plan funds to carry out fuels mitigation recommendations outlined and prioritized in their Community Wildfire Protection Plan. Other Firewise Communities/USA have received up to $10,000 to assist them with their fuels mitigation projects. For more information about the Firewise Program in South Carolina, call the SC Forestry Commission’s Statewide Firewise Coordinator, Michael Bozzo, at (803) 896-8810 or visit www.firewise.org.
For more information, call Scott Hawkins at (803) 896-8820
The SC Forestry Commission’s mission is to protect and develop South Carolina’s forest resource. For every $1.00 invested by SC in the Commission, the industry produces more than $1,300.00 of economic impact.