Officials encourage communities to join the Firewise Program

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Local officials, including Horry County Fire Rescue, held a meeting to educate the community about the availability of the Firewise Communities Program Tuesday morning.

Firewise encourages solutions for homeowners to reduce the risk of losing their homes in a fire. Firewise communities hold meetings led by fire officials to educate residents how specifically to take action around their homes to stay safe.

"We come in ourselves and the forestry commission and we do basically a pre-plan of the neighborhood, there's a lot of check offs- entrances, exits to the community, water points, all the type vegetation," says HCFR Captain Tim Rainbolt.

Tips for fire prevention are as simple as removing dead vegetation within ten feet of your home.

Preventing your home from wildfire destruction is something you can learn through this program to try and avoid disasters from occurring, like last years Windsor Green Fire.

A recent fire behind The Farm, a Carolina Forest subdivision reminds residents of the risk of a brush fire. The Farm Firewise Committee Chairman Paul Hoppes says one of those preventative steps is how homes were saved in this fire.

"Where the fire was, the two homeowners had actually taken most of that area where we had bush hogged and taken it down to bare ground, which helped," he says.

Your house should be 40 feet from the wood line to give crews enough time to protect your house and keep it from catching on fire.

The Farm is one of the largest HOA's in Horry County and one of the first to become a Firewise community.

There are at least five Firewise communities in Horry County; however, over 20 subdivisions in the county have not taken part in the program.

Horry County is the number one at-risk county for brush fires in South Carolina.

"If you can prevent your house from burning down or your neighbors house from burning down by doing little things," says Hoppes.

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