We should All Be Proud, Wedgefield is the only Firewise Community in Orange County and was among the first ten in the nation, 2001. Now, there are over 1300 Firewise Communities in the United States.
Historically, Wedgefield and Eastern Orange County are threatened by a large Wildfire every 15-20 years. By working together as a Community a Firewise attitude has enabled Homeowners to protect their property and families’ safety. Likewise, Firewise Homeowners protect neighbors and Wedgefield as a whole. Attitudes are reflected in behavior. Adopting Firewise Principles allows us to live safely away from “the big city.”
Firewise’s roots began to grow out of the 1985 fire season after 1,400 home’s were destroyed in the United States. Foresters coined the year Wildland Urban Interface or WUI. A Wildland Urban Interface is the zone of transition between the Forest and Homes that are at risk of wildfires. In the early 1990s Fire Science Research identified that the two greatest risks to homes in the WUI are flammable construction (roofs) and vegetation surrounding homes. The positive thing about this research is that individuals and communities can greatly reduce the risk by subscribing to proactive defensible behaviors. Since then, examples of Firewise’ s success are seen after every wildfire encountering the WUI. It is the Firewise homes that survive devastating wildfires.
As a neighborhood Wedgefield Firewise has enabled mitigation to benefit us All. Our voice and needs were and are heard. We now have our own Fire Station #86, reducing response time significantly. Dry Hydrants were added to many canals so water shortages would not be an issue for Fire trucks. Many Homeowners in the Estates Area have gone above and beyond by installing metal roofs and ponds. These advancements are reflected in lower insurance premiums for all of us.
There is always more work to be done. Help spread the Firewise message through interactions with new neighbors and consider volunteering for a Wedgefield Firewise Event or attend one of our monthly meetings to share your ideas.
Our next meeting is on September 8th at 1:30 at the Ranger Drainage office on Bancroft.
If you have questions or comments join the discussion on the Wedgefield Firewise Facebook Page.
Thanks, Gail Wilds