How to prepare for wildfire season

Published: Mar. 11, 2013 at 3:21 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 22, 2013 at 11:37 AM EDT
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CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF) - Horry County is in the middle of wildfire season, and one of the biggest places in our area for them, Carolina Forest, still has some missing holes when it comes to protection from flames.

Some of the subdivisions have the Firewise Protection Program, while others don't, yet all of them have the same amount of threat when it comes to wildfires and living next to heavily wooded areas.

Homeowners in the area say they remember how close the flames got from the Carolina Forest Fire, and they don't want it to happen again. But the South Carolina Forestry Commission says the fact that more neighborhoods aren't protected is a concern.

The Firewise program helps people living in a neighborhood to help their community become safer from fire risks by coming up with solutions. A local Home Owner's Association says they are in the process of trying to get involved with the Firewise program.

The SC Forestry Commission says Horry County is one of areas of the state that is most likely to have wildfires, and this is a big time of the year to have them, because the ground can dry out very fast.

The Forestry Commission says many people don't realize how big of a threat it can be to you and your home. Just a simple walk around your house can show you so much.

The Highway 31 fire in 2009, More than 70 homes were burned to the ground in the Highway 31 Fire in 2009.

Even though homeowners can't control when things go up in flames, they can control how their home will survive.

When it comes to fire, you have to focus on the 30 feet of space around your home; this is where you can find potential for more protection.

Remove any flammable plants, clear out dead leaves and needles, prune your shrubs and any large trees, so the lowest branch is at least 6 to 10 feet high.

The Forestry Commission says being proactive is crucial.

"Prepare your homes and your community against the threat of fire," says Scott Hawkins with the SC Forestry Commission. "And that forces a little bit of buy-in on the homeowners and the residents. They're taking an active role in protecting their property and the lives of their family."

Some of it can be as simple as just taking a quick walk around your home to see what could go up in flames.  It really makes a difference, because doing these things can mean your home will still be standing once the flames die down.

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