Recent brush fire sheds light on neighborhood Firewise program

CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF) - After Thursday's brush fire in the Carolina Forest's The Farm subdivision, fire officials tell WMBF News the Firewise program did exactly what it was supposed to do in that situation.

Because of efforts through the program, the flames stopped just a few feet away from homes. Fires can already easily spark in the Horry County area, this program helps make sure homeowners have more control to keep it from spreading to the home.

Officials who work with the SC Forestry Commission say Horry County is a hot bed for wildfires. But with the Firewise program, a team goes around the neighborhood and identifies all the different threats that could help a fire take down a home. Then that team makes recommendations on what could make the neighborhood fire safe. The program encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire, according to its website.

There are five Firewise communities in Horry County right now, but more than 20 subdivisions haven't taken the extra steps, so many other neighborhoods could use the extra protection, especially since many people have seen first-hand just how serious of a threat a brush fire can be.

"Couldn't see anything," said Debby Quirini, who lives in The Farm subdivision. "Where it's coming from, you don't know. I didn't expect it to be coming from the woods."

"It's scary," said The Farm resident Jennifer Mullen. "And we've got the brush going right up to our backyards, and that's a concern for us."

If a resident lives in a community that's not Firewise, then there are still some things that can be done to protect the home. For example, remove any dead plants or vegetation that's within ten feet of the house, and if there are trees cut them down so the lowest branch is at least 6 feet from the ground.

Right now, the SC Forestry Commission says there are five communities in Myrtle Beach part of this program:

  • Avalon, joined in 2012
  • Briarcliffe Acres, joined in 2010
  • The Farm at Carolina Forest, joined in 2010
  • Walkers Woods, joined in 2010
  • Waterford Plantation

Click for a list of how to make your home safer, straight from the Firewise Communities Program:

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