Wildfire Safety Around Your Home

With the wildfires fires on the West coast in the news, the Rotary Club of Tryon invited Polk County Ranger Ryan Searcy & Mountain Valleys RC&D Outreach Coordinator Jen Haas to discuss fire safety in our area.

During his presentation, Ranger Searcy let the Rotarians know that wildfires aren’t just a problem for the West coast. We have a fire season in Polk County (October – March) and homeowners need to take some small steps now to keep their property safe.

NC Forest Service Polk County Ranger Ryan Searcy

Homeowners should survey their property with fire safety in mind. The Forest Service recommends the implementation of a Home Ignition Zone safety plan. Do you have piles of leaves, wood or other combustible materials within 5 feet of your house? Don’t forget to look under decks or in your gutters for leaf litter. The next zone is from 5 to 30 feet around your house. Having the trees trimmed properly to slow the spread of fire toward your house is very important. Also look at the ground cover in this zone. Manage the leaves, fallen limbs and other combustible materials in such a way that they won’t direct a wildfire toward your house.

Home Ignition Zones

Ranger Searcy also reminded the Rotarians about the importance of having the address of your house clearly visible from the road. This will help both your local fire department and the Forest Service when they are responding to an emergency.

Rotarians were strongly encouraged to heed evacuation commands in times of danger. Our homes and property are important to each of us, but your property isn’t more important than your life. Any time Forest Rangers and first responders spend rescuing individuals who should have evacuated, is time taken away from fighting the wildfire.

For more information about keeping your home safe, contact Ranger Searcy at his office in Tryon at 317 N. Trade Street or at (828) 859-5149, ryan.searcy@ncagr.gov

Mountain Valleys RC&D Outreach Coordinator Jen Haas

The second part of the presentation was brought to us by Jen Haas of the Mountain Valleys Resource Conservation and Development Council. In her role as Outreach Coordinator, Jen takes the focus on wildfire prevention one step further. She works with groups of property owners, developers, and Homeowners Associations to implement the FireWise USA standards. These standards help organizations look at all of their property in much the same way that an individual would evaluate the wildfire safety of their home.

Jen is looking for groups in this area that would be interested in participating in the FireWise USA program. For more information, visit www.mountainvalleysrcd.org Jen can be contacted at her office in Marshall, NC at 828-206-6159 or jen.haas@mountainvalleysrcd.org

The Rotary Club of Tryon meets each Thursday. If you are interested in joining us, please contact President Skip Taylor at: stmas4280@gmail.com or 828-200-9259.