Media coverage of wildland fires often creates or renews situational awareness among residents in neighboring communities; and often acts as a motivator for residents to implement steps to reduce vulnerability. Following the March 2013 Carolina Forest wildland fire in the Windsor Green neighborhood that destroyed 108 units in more than two-dozen condominium buildings (the most destructive natural disaster in the Carolina Forest), the Parkland Community at Legends in Myrtle Beach turned their rekindled awareness into full-speed ahead actions.
This community of more than 200 homes had close calls themselves with wildfires in 2002, 2011 and 2012, but the Windsor Green fire was the catalyst that took their actions to a higher level. Within a month of the Windsor Green event, the Parkland Community reached out to the South Carolina Forestry Commission and Horry County Fire Rescue requesting informational presentations for residents.
Since that fortuitous meeting fifteen months ago, the Parkland Community has worked closely with the South Carolina Forestry Commission and they now have a multitude of successes that includes: an updated wildfire assessment, residents replacing highly flammable pine straw in their gardens with mulch or stone, national Firewise Communities/USA® recognition status, a National Fire Plan grant, a 50’ wide fuel break around the community, fire hydrant reflectors along with a 3’ cleared area around the hydrants and on-going vegetation management projects. Firewise committee members have also volunteered their time to do fuels reduction work and homeowners are actively implementing Firewise principles around their residences.
Considering the short amount of time that's elapsed since that initial meeting in April 2013, this community has reached many milestones that often take years to accomplish! Kudos to all that have worked hard to make this area a safer place to live.
Our thanks to Sushama Karmarkar for sharing this community’s successes. What they've done will help motivate others to move from awareness into action!