Although headline news stories tend to feature wildfire threatening homes in California, Colorado, or other places in the western US, the wildland-urban interface problem they describe is not exclusively a western phenomenon. The wildland-urban interface is the area where homes and wildland meet.
Fire has always been a historical feature of the landscape in South Carolina. The South Carolina Forestry Commission fights an average of 3,000 wildfires a year — many more than most western states. Approximately 98% of all wildfire causes in South Carolina are human-related. In 2009, South Carolina lost 76 homes with 97 others damaged in one major wildfire that covered over 19,000 acres. This fire was in an area where new residents not familiar with wildfire have been moving into an area where several large fires have occurred. We often have individual homes lost in the wildland-urban interface. Wildfires in developed areas are tough to control, partly due to access and other issues. As development increases, lives and property are threatened as never before.
The Forestry Commission uses the Firewise USA™ Program to educate communities and homeowners in high risk areas on ways they can take ownership of protecting their homes from damage or destruction from potential wildfire. SC Forestry Commission personnel conduct wildfire risk assessments that can be used to write action plans for communities. During workshops to communities and homeowners groups the Commission presents the scope of the issue and recommends simple steps homeowners can take to mitigate the risk to their homes.
Living With Fire (pdf) How to make your home wildfire resistant.
Your Home in the Line of FIRE! - Precautions you can take to protect your home.
Wildfire Risk Reduction Checklist for Your Home (pdf) A Checklist to Protect Your Home.
Ignition-resistant Landscaping Plant List (pdf)- Landscaping for your home.
Develop a Community Wildfire Protection Plan - View a sample plan. (pdf)
Grant Application for WUI Fuels Mitigation Projects(word file) - for use by Firewise Communities to apply for grant funds to assist in funding fuels mitigation projects.
Form W-9 (pdf)
FIREWISE USA™ - (opens in a new window) - How you can join the Firewise USA™ Recognition Program.
If you, or your community, is interested in learning more about the FIREWISE USA™ recognition program, please contact the Forestry Commission.
Ready, Set, Go! - (opens in a new window)Fire Adapted Communities - (opens in a new window)
Community Assessments and Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs)
In an effort to raise the public’s awareness to this fire danger potential the South Carolina Forestry Commission (SCFC) implemented the Firewise USA™ program with efforts focused primarily in populated areas historically known to have a high wildfire occurrence. Currently the SCFC conducts wildfire hazard and risk assessments of communities interested in reducing their wildfire risks. From the data collected during these assessments a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is developed. The objective of this plan is to set clear priorities for wildfire threat mitigation. Included are prioritized recommendations for reducing wildland fuels and structure ignitability in order to better protect the community and its essential infrastructure.
The CWPP will include community centered actions that will:
- educate the citizens about wildfire, its risks, and ways to protect life and property
- focus on collaborative decision making and citizen participation
- develop and implement effective mitigation strategies
The assessment and CWPP development phases will be coordinated with local fire departments to coordinate the firefighting resources within the community.
Over 1300 communities have been assessed throughout South Carolina with almost 642 rating at High to Extreme Risk to wildfire. 213 Community Wildfire Protection Plans have been completed and of these communities about 157 have received Community Wildfire Protection Plans.
To educate the citizens about the assessment findings and to share the wildfire risk reduction recommendations described in the CWPP, workshops are held for community leaders and community residents.
If you are interested in having your community assessed and having a Community Wildfire Protection Plan developed please contact one of the following:
- Steve Moore: State Firewise Coordinator – firstname.lastname@example.org ; 803-896-8854
- Bill Wiley: Piedmont Field Coordinator for the following counties:Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Chester, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Edgefield, Fairfield, Greenville, Greenwood, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Lee, Lexington, Marlboro, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens, Richland, Saluda, Spartanburg, Sumter, Union, and York.
Bwiley@scfc.gov ; Cell Phone 803-360-8264 and Office Phone 803-325-1926
- Drake Carroll: Coastal Field Coordinator for the following counties:Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Colleton, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Marion, Orangeburg, and Williamsburg.
Dcarroll@scfc.gov ; Cell Phone 843-601-9121 and Office Phone 843-423-3722
For those communities showing interest and taking action to implement their CWPP they can join the national Firewise USA™ Recognition Program by meeting the following criteria:
- Complete an assessment and develop a CWPP
- Establish and maintain an active Board or Council for wildfire risk reductions
- Invest at least $24.14 per dwelling* each year in wildfire protection work
- Conduct/sponsor a wildfire risk reduction educational outreach event, or related activity annually involving community members
- Submit an annual report documenting community wildfire reduction activities
*The rate is based on the 2017 annual National Hourly Volunteer Rate; which is updated every year in April when the new amount is published.
South Carolina's Communities Nationally Recognized as Firewise USA™
1. Savannah Lakes Village, McCormick County (2004)
2. Keowee Key, Oconee County (2006)
3. Wynward Pointe, Oconee County (2007)
4. Honey Hill, Jasper County (2008)
5. Lake Yonah, Oconee County (2009)
6. Keowee Harbours, Oconee County (2009)
7. Chickasaw Point, Oconee County (2009)
8. Waterford Pointe, Oconee County (2009)
9. The Farm, Horry County (2010)
10. Pine Creek, Kershaw County (2010)
11. Walkers Woods, Horry County (2010)
12. Hunters Pointe, Darlington County (2010)
13. Waterford, Oconee County (2010)
14. Briarcliffe Acres, Horry County (2010)
15. Prince George, Georgetown County (2012)
16. Avalon, Horry County (2012)
17. Debordieu, Georgetown County (2012)
18. Long Bay Club, Horry County (2013)
19. Heather Lakes, Horry County (2013)
20. Camden Creek at Plantation, Georgetown County (2013)
21. Waterford Plantation, Horry County (2013)
22. Parkland at the Legends, Horry County (2013)
23. Cliffs Valley, Greenville County (2013)
24. Oak Creek Plantation, Spartanburg County (2013)
25. Windsor Green, Horry County (2014)
26. The Bluffs on the Waterway, Horry County (2014)
27. Myrtle Trace South, Horry County (2015)
28. Woodside Plantation, Aiken County (2015)
29. Beacon Shores, Oconee County (2015)
30. Palm Key, Jasper County (2015)
31. Hidden Harbor, Horry County (2015)
32. Port Santorini, Oconee County (2016)
33. Emerald Pointe, Oconee County (2017)
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