FIREWISE: To save lives
and property from wildfires, the Firewise
Communities program teaches people how to adapt
to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors
to work together and take action now to prevent
losses. We all have a role to play in protecting
ourselves and each other from the risk of
questions or concerns about Wedgefield Firewise?
Click here to contact us.
"The views expressed in this article are
those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect
the position or policy of the Wedgefield Homeowners
Association, Directors, and Officers."
As this is being written, January 11th, Firewise has
not had their first meeting of the year yet therefore a
number of items on our agenda have not been approved or
voted on. Those items will be decided on Thursday,
January 14th at our first meeting of the year. One of
the most important is when we will hold our evening
meetings to accommodate those Wedgefield residents who
work or have daytime commitments. Our plan is to have an
evening meeting every other month, starting in February.
As of today, we have not set the date for that meeting
however if you will check the calendar on the HOA
website it will be posted or you can send an email to
email@example.com and we will keep you
updated. The afternoon meetings, again every other month
starting with January, will be held at 1:30 PM at the
Ranger Drainage District office on the second Thursday.
As we celebrate 16 years as a Firewise Community, it is
due to the support and input of Wedgefield residents and
the support of our partner agencies. This year we want
to expand our team and accomplish more than in the past
with more educational gatherings. We hope you will
consider coming to one of our meetings and helping us
accomplish those goals.
I look forward to seeing you at a meeting or an event
this year. Thank you for your support. Mary Prescott,
email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at
4027-273-6933 with questions or suggestions.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE FIREWISE TEAM
Firewise is beginning its 16th year as a nationally
recognized Firewise community. As many of you know,
Wedgefield was one of only seven communities nationwide
accepted into a pilot program called FIREWISE
Communities, USA. Firewise Communities USA is a unique
opportunity available to America's fire prone
communities. The goal for Wedgefield Firewise is to
encourage and acknowledge action that minimizes home
loss to wildfires, teaching you to prepare for a fire
before it occurs. Like a good Boy Scout, Be Prepared.
For you as a
Wedgefield resident, it means learning what you can do
to protect your family and property when a wildfire is
threatening plus have a plan to evacuate, if necessary.
Many of the residents can tell you about the fires of
1998, that resulted in many homes being in harms ways
and making preparations if we had to evacuate. Packing a
bag, remembering to get all your medicine, what
valuables you wanted and could take and making
arrangements for pets( can you take them where you are
going, do you have to board, packing their food, bedding
and medicine) and if you had horses where were you
taking them. Luckily only a few of the residents had to
evacuate and most were allowed back home within 24
hours. It was a stressful time, as all of us watched the
reports on TV and saw the smoke filled skies. There have
been wildfires in Wedgefield every year but none have
affected the whole community as the one of 1998.
Each year, we
sponsor, co sponsor or participate in several events in
the community to help residents understand how to
protect their property. These events are open to the
public at no charge. The funds we receive from
sponsorships, raffles and donations help offset the
costs of these events plus the cost of providing
educational materials to give out. Please remember this
when we ask you to be a sponsor or make a donation. Past
events have included Car Shows, Landscaping Expo,
Community Awareness Day, Fall Festival, Yard Sale, Open
House at the Fire Station, Workshops and Hikes in Hal
As we begin
the new year, we are looking to expand our team which
will enable us to do more events and outreach in the
community. We need a few more people and maybe you are
looking for a way to help make Wedgefield a better and
safer community. Things that you might consider doing
include designing flyers for events, suggestions for
new/different events, distribute flyers, pass out
literature at events, write articles for the newsletter,
pick up supplies and bring to event, help set up tables
and displays, talk to people about being sponsors or
donating items for raffles, work on a committee for a
specific event, or organizing our supplies. Our election
is coming up and you might consider serving as
Secretary, Treasurer or Vice Chair, none are difficult
positions. To accommodate those who work or have daytime
commitments we will alternate our meeting times, every
other month will be an evening meeting starting in
February, day, time and location is still to be
determined. The other months we will meet as usual on
the second Thursday of the month at the Ranger Drainage
District building, our meeting starts at 1:30 PM. We
invite you to join us whether it is at the afternoon or
evening meeting. The meeting for January will be on
Thursday, the 14th at 1:30 PM.
Thank you for
your support and interest during 2015. What we have
accomplished is because of this community and the
residents who make it all possible.
Mary Prescott, Chair
email@example.com or call 407-273-6933
facebook page - Wedgefield Firewise, or email us with
your suggestions, concerns or questions -
information on wildfires, protecting your property,
landscaping or Firewise construction visit these
As we begin the holiday season
with decorating the inside and outside of our homes,
here are some facts from NFPA’s Fire Analysis and
Research Division that should be considered:
Between 2009-2014, U. S. Fire
Departments responded to an average of 210 home fires
that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires
caused an average of 7 deaths, 19 injuries and $17.5
million in direct property damage annually.
On average one of every 31
reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree
resulted in a death, compared to an average of 1 death
per 144 total reported home fires.
Electrical problems were factors
in 3 out of 10 home Christmas tree structure fires.
Two of every five (39%) home
Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family
room or den.
We want to thank the community
for your support during the year 2015. We hope that
those you attended our workshops and nature walks found
them informative and interesting. Your donations allow
us to do these with out a charge. Thank you to those
who have volunteered their time and efforts in helping
us during the year. As we prepare out plans for 2016,
we are looking for Wedgefield residents to join our team
to help us do even more in the community to educate
people about wildfires and preparing for emergencies.
We are not asking for a commitment of attending every
meeting but being available to assist as events come
up. We hope you will consider joining us.
Don’t forget that on December 5th,
from 11 AM to 2 PM, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the
Wedgefield Fire Station. Come meet the local
firefighters and tour the Fire Station and enjoy free
Again, the Firewise team wants to
thank you for your support. Have a Merry Christmas and
Happy New Year.
Mary Prescott, Chair
Prevention Week was October 4 -10th, this year with a
theme of "Hear the Beep, Where You Sleep", every bedroom
needs a working smoke alarm.
Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each
sleeping area and on every level of your home. Test your
smoke alarms every month. Replace all smoke alarms
in your home every 10 years. To determine the age of
your smoke alarm, look at the back where you will find
the date of manufacture. Now is the time for you to
your smoke alarms. Three of every five home fire deaths
resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no
working smoke alarms.
and Smokey Bear are coming to the Fall Festival.
looking forward to seeing you at the Annual Fall
Festival sponsored by Wedgefield Firewise and Wedgefield
HomeOwners Association, on Saturday, November 14th,
from 11 AM to 3 PM in the Community Park on Mansfield.
We will have as special guest SMOKEY BEAR, so be sure to
bring the children to meet him and take their picture
We have lined up several interesting speakers, including
Gail Wilds of Wedgefield Firewise, Dennis Mudge, Orange
County/University of Florida Extension Service, Jason
Taylor, Orange County Emergency Management AND TOM MAC
CUBBIN, Mr. MacCubbin is a popular TV and Radio
personality and Extension Agent Emeritus of University
of Florida. If you have one of his gardening books,
bring it and he will be happy to autograph it for you,
plus answer your gardening questions. Remember this is a
free event. There will be many displays by local
agencies plus local vendors with items to sell, plus the
bake sale, food concession, raffle items, balloons and
face painting. It is not too late to reserve a spot as a
vendor or enter the Cake and Pie Baking contest. Join us
for a fun day in the park.
November 21st, we have scheduled a nature walk in Hal
Scott Preserve led by Dennis Mudge, Orange
County/University of Florida Extension Agent. We will
assemble in Hal Scott (Dallas Blvd) and the walk will
start at 3:30 PM. Bring your children and all of you
will have an opportunity to experience our native plant
life and learn some of the history of the Hal Scott
There will be a sign up sheet at the Firewise table
during the Fall Festival or email firstname.lastname@example.org
or call Mary at 407-273-6933.
is coming to town. He and Mrs. Claus will be at the
Wedgefield Fire Station on December 5th. As usual, you
can have your photo taken with Santa at no charge, tour
the fire station, meet the local firefighters and free
refreshments will be offered. Mark your calendar and see
more details in the next newsletter.
Thank you for
your continued support. Please remember that Wedgefield
Firewise is a not for profit organization and our
funding comes from donations and fund raisers. Your
support allows us to sponsor community events free. Our
next meeting is on November 12th at the RDD Building at
1:30 PM, come join us and learn about Firewise and
protecting your property before and during wildfires.
beginning to be in the air and even though we have a lot
of rain, we must always be prepared for a wildfire in
Wedgefield. We are a rural area (wildland/urban
interface), with many uncleared lots in our midst plus
heavily wooded areas on each of our four sides. The
majority of the fires that have occured in Wedgefield
were caused by lightning however some have been from
arson, usually not intentional such children playing
with fire or carelessness with matches and grills. So
please be careful. Clear off pine needles, dead leaves
from rooflines, gutters, decks, porches and along fence
lines, that way if a fire is nearby the falling embers
will have nothing to burn. Trim your shrubs and any
overhanging branches. If ordered to evacuated, do so,
making sure all windows and doors are closed tightly and
seal up any pet doors. Many homes are destroyed by
embers entering these openings. Be Prepared for when a
Wildfire occurs in our neighborhood. For more
information, visit our Facebook page or go to
booth at the Fall Festival for free literature and have
your questions answered. There will be several speakers
during the day, including representatives from Emergency
Management, Orange County/University of Florida
Extension Service, and Wedgefield Firewise. We look
forward to meeting you at this fun day in the park.
As of June
1st, we began the Atlantic Hurricane season, which will
continue until November 30th. In the Orlando area, the
hurricane season tends to be prevalent in August and
September. Being prepared before a hurricane is near is
the key to surviving by having supplies on hand and a
plan for evacuation if necessary, Including plans and
supplies for your pets. For those who live in the
estate/acreage areas, remember that loss of power also
means loss of your water supply. What does that all this
have to do with Firewise? Fuel is created by branches
being knocked off trees plus the downed trees and with
one lightning strike a wildfire is created. It could be
in your yard or next door. Now is the time to trim any
dead or loose branches near any structures and clean up
any debris in the yard.
Firewise is dedicated to educating residents about the
dangers of wildfires and ways to protect their
structures. All of this work is done by volunteers and
all funding comes from donations, grants, and fund
raisers. We hope you will support us as we continue to
do this work. YOU are encouraged to stop at our table
during community events, come to our meetings and join
the Firewise team. We are always open to new ideas and
suggestions. We meet the second Thursday of each month
at 1:30 PM in the conference room of the Ranger Drainage
District building. If you can't make it but have ideas,
email us at email@example.com. Visit our
facebook page for Firewise tips and ideas.
GENERATOR - Enter and you may win.
Recently there was an article in the FLASH newsletter
about hurricanes that stated:
"August brings the advent of peak hurricane season and
the return of the popular Kohler Standby Generator
sweepstakes. Now through November 30th, sweepstakes
entries can be made through the
Great Hurricane Blowout website or by mail to Kohler
Power Systems, Great Hurricane Blowout Sweepstakes, MS
072, 444 Highland Drive, Kohler, WI 43044.
Thank you for your support
Mary Prescott Chair
Summer storms bring much needed rain but also lightning.
The majority of fires in our area are caused by
lightning, followed by arson. Each year, thousands of
acres of wildland and many homes are destroyed by fires
that can erupt at any time of the year from a variety of
causes including lightning, arson and debris burning. On
Tuesday, June 23rd, there were two lightning strikes
that caused approximately 10 acres to burn in the area
of Sheldon Street and Bassett Avenue. Three homes are in
that area however they were not damaged. Wil Kitchings,
Forest Area Supervisor with the Florida Forest Service
was on the scene and stated that their well manicured
yards kept the fire away from the houses. They have
defensible space that Firewise encourages all residents
to have to protect their property. A mere 30 feet of
green space could save your structures. During this
fire, Florida Forest Service had three tractor-plows and
an engine on site plus the Orange County Fire Rescue
Department had several engines plus other equipment on
the scene. They were able to contain the fire and kept
it from spreading to other homes. Thank you to all of
them for responding so quickly and protecting these
properties. For more information on creating defensible
(survivable) space on your property, visit
www.firewise.org, visit our facebook page or email your
Our next meeting will be on Thursday, August 13th, (1:30
PM) in the Ranger Drainage District conference room, we
invite you to join us and consider being part of the
team that encourages Wedgefield residents to take action
to minimize home loss from wildfires.
It is with great sadness, that Wedgefield Firewise
acknowledges the recent death of their member, Cecil
Davis. Cecil was involved when Firewise was just a
concept and helped promote it in the community. In 2001,
he encouraged a number of Wedgefield residents and
agencies to join together to be a part of this program
and Wedgefield became 1 of 3 communities in Florida to
adopt the program and the only one in Orange County.
With Cecil’s assistance, we were able to create
firebreaks and install draft hydrants to protect the
community during wildfires, most of which were done at
no cost to the community. Cecil was tireless in speaking
to other communities and elected officials promoting the
Firewise program. His dedication to this program and the
community of Wedgefield will be missed.
Summer has arrived and with it comes rain and storms.
The storms bring lightning, which is the major cause of
wildfires in Florida. We cannot prevent the storms and
lightning but we can be prepared. Once again, I remind
you to clean out the gutters, trim the bushes, create a
defensible space, use less flammable plants close to the
house and be prepared to evacuate if necessary. For more
information, go to www.firewise.org or send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions.
We hope you had an opportunity to attend the workshop
led by Gail Wilds that we held on May 2nd in celebrating
"Wildfire Community Preparedness Day". Gail applied for
and received a grant for $500.00, which covered the cost
of the workshop plus the display model showing good and
bad landscaping, she and her husband built. If you
missed seeing it, it will be on display, at the
Cattlemen's Breakfast in front of Tractor Supply on June
The Firewise Board is taking part of the summer off
and will not hold a meeting in June or July, resuming
our regular schedule beginning with the August 13th
meeting, however if you have concerns, questions, or
suggestions, please send us an email at
email@example.com and we will respond.
Remember to protect your property/home and be
Thank you for your continued support.
Mary Prescott, Chair
SAFE GRILLING HINTS FROM NFPA
June and July are peak months for
summer grilling fires. Grilling season is a great time
of year for friends and families to have cookouts and
tailgate, but before starting the season, be sure your
grill is working properly and review safety tips, said
Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy
of NFPA. Propane gas hose leaks or breaks were the
leading factors contributing to gas grill fires. It is
good practice to check for damage before using it for
the first time each year and to clean and check the
entire grill regularly.
According to a 2013 NFPA report
on cooking equipment fires, gas grills were involved in
an annual average of 7200 home fires if 2007 - 2011,
while charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were
responsible for an annual average of 1400 home fires.
While gas grills contribute to a higher of home fires,
overall than their charcoal counterparts, NFPA reminds
everyone that all types of grills pose a risk for fires
and burn injuries. More than one-quarter (27 percent)
of home structure grill fires started on a courtyard,
terrace or patio, while 29 percent started on an
exterior balcony or open porch and six percent began in
the kitchen, according to the report.
Hints for safe grilling from NFPA:
Stay alert when grilling. Do not
grill if you are sleepy or when you are drinking alcohol
Don’t leave your cooking/grill
Keep children and pets at least
three feet away from the grill area. Remove flammable
materials from around the grill
Propane and charcoal BBQ grills
should only be used outdoors.
Grills should be placed well away
from the home and deck railings and out from under eaves
and overhanging branches.
Check the gas tank for leaks
before using it for the first time each year. NOTE: A
light soap and water solution applied to the hose is a
great way to check for leaks. You can often smell a
propane leak but propane will also release bubbles when
the soap and water solution is applied. If you detect a
leak, turn the gas tank and grill off. If the leak
stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before
using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the
Always make sure your gas grill is open before igniting
If you smell gas while cooking,
immediately move away from the grill and call the fire
department. Do not move the grill.
If the flames go out for any
reason, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 15
minutes before relighting it. Keep your grill clean by
regularly removing grease or fat buildup from the grates
and trays below Charcoal grills:
There are several ways to get the
charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starter allow
you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
If you use a starter fluid, use
only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid
or any other flammable liquid to the flames.
Keep charcoal fluid out of the
reach of children and away from heat sources.
Electric charcoal starters do not
use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor
When you are finished grilling,
let the coals completely cool before disposing in a
metal container with a lid.
For additional information, visit
BURNING BY GAIL WILDS
Florida is pyrodiverse, meaning that most native plants
evolved with fire due to our propensity for lightning
strikes. Saw Palmetto, Wire Grass and Long Leaf Pine are
examples of this pyrodiveristy. Similarly, due to our
long growing season, the equilivent of 300 gallons of
fuel are added to each acre every year. Therefore,
managing or reducing this fuel is an important component
of land management in Florida. Prescribed burning favors
edemic species and prevents exotic species.
Most prescribed burns are accomplished during the Fall
through Spring. The objectives vary, but fuel reduction
is always a top priority. A prescribed burn simulates a
low intensity mosaic of fire. Whereas a wildfires’
intensity can destroy native habitats. Most zones are
prescribed burned on a rotation of 3 - 5 years. Land
managers, like St. John’s River Water Management
District (Hal Scott), are required to use a prescription
that dictates the weather conditions required for each
zone. Wind direction is critical due to smoke
management. Because weather is unpredictable and
forecasts are sometimes unreliable, land managers have a
goal and prescriptions for the zones they want to burn
on any given year. The weather is the deciding factors
before the operation is started. Weather readings and a
test fire determines if conditions are right in the
field. Equipment and crew always on standby when the
weather fits the prescription.
Learn more at our National Wildfire Preparedness
workshop on May 2nd from 10 AM to Noon in the conference
room at the Wedgefield Country Club. To register contact
Gail Wilds 407-568-0737
CONGRATULATIONS - Recently State Farm Insurance, in
connection with the National Fire Protection
Association, offered grants of $500.00 each to 65
communities that submitted requests/ideas for National
Wildfire Preparedness Day. There were 338 project
applications submitted from 37 states and thanks to Gail
Wilds, Wedgefield was one of the 65 selected to receive
the $500.00 funding award. Come to the workshop on May
2nd and learn what ideas Gail had and how she
Thanks to everyone who supported and attended the Annual
Car Show and Chili Cook Off on February 21st. Another
fun day and lots of great cars and trucks were on
display. The winners in the Car Show were: Jim Miner,
Keban Kietzmann and Stan King. The peoples choice trophy
was awarded to Kenny Crites.
UPCOMING - Mark your calendars and join us.
April 25th at 9 AM a Nature Walk in Hal Scott Preserve,
for information or to register contact Helen Barger at
407-568-9593 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please arrive a few minutes before 9 AM.
May 2 from 10 AM to Noon - Workshop at Wedgefield
Country Club celebrating “Wildfire Community
Preparedness Day” Speakers will discuss, wildfires,
emergency management, prescribed burning and more.
Refreshments will be provided. Contact Gail Wilds
407-568-0737 to register.
June 6h is the Annual Hurricane Expo at the Fairgrounds
June 20th is the Annual Cattlemens’ Breakfast in front
of Tractor Supply on Hwy. 50. Look for our information
booth and enjoy breakfast in the fresh air.
Warmer weather is on its way with
the dry and cold winter in the past. This winter
weather of the past months has created a great deal of
fuel in the Wedgefield area which we need to clear out
before fire season starts again. With that in mind,
here are some reminders on how to reduce the fuel on
In Firewise landscapes, there are
4 zones, with Zone 1 being closest to a structure and
Zones 2 - 4 move progressively further away.
Zone 1 - this is a well irrigated
area encircling the structure for at least 30’ on all
sides, providing for space for fire suppression
equipment in the event of an emergency. Plantings
should be limited to carefully spaced fire resistant
Zone 2 - Fire resistant plants
should be used here also, and should be low growing and
the irrigation system should extend into this section
Zone 3 - Low- growing plants and
well-spaced trees in this area, remembering to keep the
volume of vegetation (fuel) low.
Zone 4 - This furthest zone from
the structure is a natural area, thin selectively here
and remove highly flammable vegetation.
Keep shrubs and trees pruned. Prune trees near
structures up to 6’ to 10’ from the ground and trim any
branches overhanging onto the structure.
Be sure to leave a minimum of 30 feet around the house
to accommodate fire equipment, if necessary
Carefully space trees you plant
Take out the “ladder fuels” - vegetation that serves as
a link between grass and tree tops. (It can carry fire
to a structure or from a structure to vegetation.
Give yourself added protection with “fuel breaks” like
driveways, gravel walkways and lawns.
For more information go to
www.flash.org or send an email with your questions
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED
MAKE THIS YEARS ANNUAL CAR SHOW AND CHILI COOK OFF SUCH
We appreciate your support. Look
for our information tables at the Walgreens Health Fair
on Feburary 28th, and the WHOA Yard Sale on
March 21st. There will be an expert guided
nature walk in Hal Scott Preserve on a Saturday in
April, if you are interested please send an email to
email@example.com. Thank you again for
your interest and support. Mary Prescott
No February Article
WEDGEFIELD FIREWISE WISHES ALL OF YOU A VERY HAPPY NEW
Please remember with the shortage of rain in this area
that an abundance of fuel is being created and a simple
spark could start a fire. Things like the careless toss
of a match or cigarette, parking on the grass, or a
spark from a grill could start a fire that could move
quickly around your home. Please be careful.
We hope everyone enjoyed the Open House at the Fire
Station with Santa on December 13th. There was a good
turn out to meet the firemen and Santa. Thank you to
everyone who donated cookies and helped make the event a
Our next event is the Annual Car Show and Chili Cook
Off, currently scheduled for Saturday, February
21st. We are still working out the details. If you
would like to help or participate, please send an email
to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mary at
407-273-6933. We will need assistance in setting up,
directing traffic and show cars, and selling raffle
tickets, t-shirts and wrist bands. Any assistance will
be greatly appreciated. Mark your calendar and don't
miss this great annual event.
Thank you Wedgefield residents for your support. Mary
FALL FESTIVAL A SUCCESS - THANK YOU FOR
The Wedgefield Homeowners Association and Wedgefield
Firewise would like to thank everyone for their support
of our Annual Fall Festival held this year on October 25th.
We have estimated that attendance exceeded 800 people
this year. Everyone seemed to enjoy a day in the park
strolling among the vendors, information booths,
listening to the speakers, having lunch and dessert from
the cake and pie booth. Congratulations to those who
won the Pumpkin Carving Contest, the Cake Baking Contest
and the Pie Baking Contest.
To all the following sponsors, thank you. Your
financial support allows us to put on these events
without an entrance charge to the public.
ARFordable Pet Grooming LLC
Lumber & Supply Inc.
Central Florida Framing & Construction Inc.
Compass Rose Travel
C.R.E.W. Electrical Services Inc.
& Marty Fioramanti
Charlene Minter, Premium Properties
Robert Goderis & Sons
Safari Septic and Home Services
Teresa McIntyre Photography, LLC
and Helen Unser
Breazzano ( Sew Nice)
& Marty Burke
CMI of Central Florida Inc.
Falcon of the Nile Water Solutions, LLC
Master Construction Products, Inc.
Pediatric Dental Care of Greater Orlando, Inc.
Sunshine Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.
Tropical Plumbing and Septic Inc.
We want to thank especially “Splashy” our clown and face
painter who provided her services at no cost.
For an event like this to be successful, it takes a lot
of planning and hard work by many volunteers, so we want
to thank everyone who volunteered their time and
effort. THANK YOU.
Thank you to everyone for your participation and support
of the Annual Fall Festival this year. We hope you
enjoyed having the addition of vendors for early holiday
shopping. Every year it just gets better. A special
thank you to all the volunteers who started working
months in advance to make this a success and those who
helped during the event.
For several months now, we have been telling you that
the Florida Forest Service had gotten a grant of
$12,000.00 for mitigation/fuel reduction in the
Wedgefield area. We had hoped to start work on this in
late September. Each landowner that would be affected
by the clearing of a Ranger Drainage District easement
was notified prior to work starting. Some landowners
felt it was an encroachment on their property and
privacy and protested the clearing. Over the next two
months, we will be looking at different areas in the
community where fuel reduction would be beneficial to
homeowners and the community. Each landowner affected
will be contacted in advance of any clearing. Please
understand the fuel reduction is a way to protect your
home and property when a wildfire is occurring in the
area. This has been a relatively dry season so there is
a lot of fuel on the ground and as we move into winter
with even less rain the danger will only increase.
SANTA WILL BE AT THE FIRE STATION ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER
13TH FROM 1 PM TO 3 PM
Free Photos with Santa. Refreshments will be provided.
Tour the station, meet the local firefighters, learn
about fires and fire prevention. Join Wedgefield
Firewise and Wedgefield HomeOwners Association as once
again we sponsor a free event at the Wedgefield Fire
Station at 3202 Babbitt Avenue.
Again, thank you for your support of our efforts and we
look forward to meeting you at one of our events.
Mary Prescott, President
FIRE PREVENTION WEEK
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) chose
“Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every
Month!” as the theme for Fire Prevention Week 2014
(October 5-11). .
“Smoke alarms can make a life-saving difference in a
fire, but they need to be working. “Unfortunately, many
home fire deaths result from fires where a smoke alarm
is present but does not operate. This year’s Fire
Prevention Week theme focuses on motivating people to
test their smoke alarms each month to make sure they’re
working properly,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice
president of Outreach and Advocacy
According to NFPA statistics:
Having a working smoke alarm in the home cuts the risk
of dying in a fire in half.
On average each year, three out of five home fire deaths
result occur in fires where there are either no smoke
alarms or no working smoke alarms.
In one-quarter (23 percent) of the home fire deaths,
smoke alarms were present but did not sound.
“Nearly 3,000 people continue to die in fires each year,
with most of those deaths occurring in homes,” said
Carli. “The vast majority of home fire deaths are
preventable, and working smoke alarms play a big role in
helping reduce those numbers.”
Installing smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside
each sleeping area and on every level of the home,
including the basement.
Testing all smoke alarms every month by using the test
Replacing all smoke alarms every 10 years or sooner if
they don’t respond properly when tested.
Fire Prevention Week occurs annually in October during
the week in which October 9 falls, commemorating the
Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Each year, NFPA works in
coordination with partnering companies, organizations
and fire departments to promote Fire Prevention Week and
its fire safety messages throughout North America.
For more information on Fire Prevention Week and this
year’s campaign theme, “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives:
Test Yours Every Month!”, visit
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical,
building, and life safety. The mission of the
international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is
to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards
on the quality of life by providing and advocating
consensus codes and standards, research, training, and
education. NFPA has developed more than 300 codes and
standards to minimize the possibility and effects of
fire and other hazards. All NFPA codes and standards can
be viewed at no cost at
FALL FESTIVAL - BREAKING NEWS
TOM AND JOANI MAC CUBBIN WILL BE OUR FEATURED SPEAKERS
AT THE FALL FESTIVAL THIS YEAR. In addition, Orange
County Extension Service, Orange County Fire Rescue
Service, Florida Forest Service, and Orlando Utilities
Commission are scheduled to speak and/or have
Bring the whole family and join us on Saturday, October
25 from 11 AM to 3 PM for a “fun day” in the park. We
will have our Annual Baking contest, bake sale, food
tent, raffles, bounce houses, displays by local agencies
including the Wedgefield Fire Department and a carved
pumpkin contest. (Just bring your pumpkin already carved
for judging - 2 categories of ages up to 12 and those
over 12 - so adults can participate too.)
This year we have added vendors, crafters and hobbyists
displaying and selling their products - do your
Christmas shopping early. We are still looking for
volunteers and sponsors. Please see forms in other
section of newsletter. This event is sponsored by
Wedgefield Firewise and Wedgefield HomeOwners
Association. Come join us. For information please
contact Mary Prescott 407-568-7762 or Judy Miller
407-568-1094 or email:
Have you ever wanted to
learn more about Hal Scott Preserve on Dallas Blvd. and
walk some of the trails? On Saturday, November 1st,
Wedgefield Firewise will sponsor a free Expert Guided
Nature Hike. This is an opportunity for you to hike
the trails, learn about the plants that are growing
there, and the animals that make it their home. The
hike will start at 9 AM so please arrive by 8:45 AM.
Please dress appropriately for the hike, including
wearing closed shoes, bring bottled water for your use
and bug repellant. We will require a minimum of 10
people to conduct this hike. At the Fall Festival,
there will be a sign up sheet at the Firewise table or
if you prefer send an email to
email@example.com with your name and
No September Article
We have endured a lot of dry weather in Wedgefield which
increased the amount of fuel and the danger of a
wildfire. Now, however, we are having a heavy
rainstorms that thankfully would keep a fire from
spreading so rapidly. With these daily storms we have
lightning which can easily start a fire when it strikes
something on the ground. Before the next storm, check
that the limbs of nearby trees are not hanging over your
structures, that low hanging limbs are removed and clean
up any ground debris. We live in the lightning capital
so we need to adapt and prepare.
Florida Forest Service and Ranger Drainage District have
selected some areas in Wedgefield for creating
firebreaks. The bids have been submitted to Tallahassee
and hopefully before long we should see some work being
done. The creation of firebreaks can slow if not stop a
ground fire by reducing the fuel. Thanks to Cliff
Frazier, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist with Florida
Forest Service for finding and applying for this grant.
Thank you for your support and for being “Firewise”
Mary Prescott, Chair
Hurricane Season has arrived.
What does that have to do with Firewise? Whether
wildfires or hurricanes the evacuation process is the
Prepare NOW not when the order to
evacuate occurs. If you go the The Florida Division of
Emergency Management website, you will find the
Being Ready for An Emergency is
As Easy As. . .
In an emergency you need to be
ready to make it on your own. What should you have in
your disaster supply kit? One gallon of water for each
person per day. You should have enough water for at
least three days. If you have four people in your
family, you should store one gallon of water X4 people
X3 days = 12 gallons of water.
Canned and dried food – food that is easy to prepare and
doesn’t need refrigeration
Manual can opener
Sleeping bags or cot
Flashlight or lantern with batteries
Emergency Contact list
Soap and hand sanitizer
NOAA All-Hazards Weather Radio or battery-powered radio
Credit cards and cash
Heavy garbage bags or tarps
Whistle or airhorn
Pet Supplies, such as cage, leash, food, medicines and
Baby formula, diapers, bottles, and other
Hearing aid batteries
Special equipment for physically
challenged - diabetic supplies Serial Numbers of medical
devices such as pacemakers.
Prepare now before the need
arises. On May 31st, the Annual Hurricane
Expo was held and Firewsie was invited to have a space
to pass out literature about wildfires. Tonja Doering
and her family represented Wedgefield Firewise at this
event and had over 150 people stop at the table to pick
up literature and ask questions.
In Phil Unser’s Neighborhood
Watch article this month, he noted that as he delivered
the HOA signs to residents, that many of you do not have
your addresses clearly marked. During an emergency
seconds can count and if your address is not visible it
can delay a response. Mailboxes should have 3” or
larger numbers on both sides of the mailbox or the post.
The Florida Forest Service has
applied for funding to create additional firebreaks in
the community and at this time we are working with
Ranger Drainage District to determine where these can be
We are beginning to plan for the
Fall Festival on October 25th. As usual, we
need volunteers to help put this event on and make it a
success. In addition we will be looking for Sponsors
and Raffle donations. We plan this year to have
additional vendors and invite crafters and business
owners to consider having a space and let the community
know who you are. We are working out the details. If
you are interested or just want more information, please
email Mary Prescott at
firstname.lastname@example.org or Rich Mehochko at
Thank you for your support and suggestions.
Mary Prescott, Chair
Thank you to everyone who
participated in our workshop on May 10th, we
hope you found it informative and will motive you to
make your property “Firewise”. Creating defensible
spaces, using less flammable plants and using
fire-resistant materials in construction can save your
structures. In addition, you should have a disaster
plan in place now. If you missed this one and would
like to attend a workshop in the future, please send us
an email at
email@example.com and we will let you
know when the next one is scheduled.
The following is a post regarding
the fires in California by Michele Steinberg, Firewise
Communities Program Manager, NFPA on May 15, 2014:
The level of fire activity in May
in California is not completely unexpected, but dramatic
nonetheless. Fire officials and environmental monitors
alike have been worrying and warning for months about
the severity of the statewide drought conditions and
their potential to give the fire season calendar a
180-degree spin. Forget the classic Santa Ana winds of
late October - there is no more “in-season” for severe
fires, it appears.
The images and stories coming out
of the region further reinforce the need for property
owners and community leaders to take action to prepare
home ignition zones by limiting the opportunity for
wind-driven embers and flames to ignite vulnerable roofs
and decks or enter vents in homes and other
structures. Photos from the area show homes igniting
from embers that have blown into attics or onto roofs
and gutters while the green vegetation around them is
These same stories also tell
about the broader impact of fires. Thousands of people
have been evacuated and many more may have to take
shelter elsewhere as fires burn around the region.
Children have been kept at school for extra hours in
places where it is too dangerous to let them go home or
for anyone to drive on smoky roads. Schools and business
have been forced to close, and a power outage along with
the local fire conditions forced the popular Legoland
California amusement park to evacuate guests and suspend
operations. Firefighters are challenged to fight fire
and attempt evacuations and rescue simultaneously, all
under extreme fire and heat conditions.
NFPA’s Firewise program advises
people to start with their home and work their way out
to prepare it to resist ignition from wildfire. We
champion the IAFC message, “Ready, Set, Go!” that
includes preparation that can save lives. Ultimately,
all of us faced with the reality of wildfire must take
these steps but also do more to work with the local
governments that maintain our infrastructure and
services, the businesses that employ us, and the schools
that educate - and shelter - our children. The need to
apply the concept of Fire Adapted Communities becomes
very clear at times like these. It’s our whole community
that will be affected during an extreme wildfire event.
It should be our whole community that comes together
ahead of time to plan, prepare and act to reduce our
risks and losses.
On May 31st Orange
County Emergency Management is sponsoring a Hurricane
Expo at the Barnett Park Gymnasium (4801 W. Colonial)
from 10 AM to 2 PM. If you are able, we encourage you
to attend this free event. Wedgefield Firewise will
have a table with free information on wildfires and
Firewise landscaping. The free, one-day event will
offer preparedness information, live demonstrations and
hands-on training at the Barnett Park Gymnasium. Free
preparedness items, including weather radios and first
aid kits, will be distributed while supplies last.
Attendees will learn from emergency response and
recovery experts from the National Weather Service and
Federal Emergency Management Agency. Representatives
will answer questions and provide information on how to
survive and deal with floods, high wind damage and
property loss. Participants will also learn how to track
storms, pack a disaster kit, administer first aid,
perform compression only CPR and prepare an emergency
plan for their pets. Hurricane season begins June 1 and
ends November 30, 2014.
The Annual Cattlemen’s Breakfast
will be on June 14th in front of Tractor
Supply at the Corner Lakes Shopping Center. This is a
great opportunity to meet some of the local cattlemen,
view many displays and win prizes. Breakfast starts
about 6:30 AM. Hope to see you there.
Thank you to the community for
their continued support. Our June meeting be on
Thursday, the 12th at the RDD Building and
starts at 1:30 PM. Join us with your suggestions and
Mary Prescott, Chair
Wildfire season is upon us. Even with the recent rain we
are experiencing drought conditions. We must each take
responsibility for our properties. When a wildfire
starts it can move rapidly through an area destroying
everything in its path. Now is the time to look around
and evaluate your property. Maintaining a 30 foot
defensible space of a well irrigated area provides space
for fire suppression equipment. In this area, plantings
should be limited so low flammability plants. This 30
foot buffer may enable your structures to survive a
wildfire without assistance. Remove pine straw and
leaves from roof and gutters. The larger trees,
especially those near structures on your property,
should be pruned so that the lowest branches are at
least 6 to 10 feet high to prevent a fire on the ground
from spreading to tree tops. Identify your home and
driveway so you are easy to locate during a fire by
using 3” or larger reflective numbers on the mailbox and
Now is the time to have an emergency plan in case of any
disaster, whether fire or hurricane. Decide where you
will go and be sure all family members know this
location. Prepare now a list of things that you will
need to take in case evacuation is ordered, and post the
list where all family members can find it. Have a plan
to include your pets and their needs.
Thank you to everyone for their support during the WHOA
Yard Sale. Many of you donated items for us to sell or
donated money, we were able to raise enough money to
cover the costs of our first workshop on May 3rd.
If you are interested in attending a workshop, please
send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call Blanche
Caesar to sign up for this one at 407-568-7368. We will
be covering Firewise plants, Firewise landscaping,
preventing loss from fires and preparing for evacuation
before a disaster strikes. We hope you will join us,
seating is limited and we would appreciate advance
registration. All materials and refreshments will be
provided at no cost to you. The speakers will have
lunch at the Country Club and you are welcome to join
them (at your cost) to get even more information.
Thank you for your support.
Mary Prescott Chair
Wedgefield has been a Firewise Community since 2001.
One of 7 communities nationwide chosen in 2000 to
participate in a pilot program, currently there are over
950 communities in the program. The mission of
Wedgefield Firewise Community is the education of
Florida residents regarding wildfires and the ways they
can protect their properties and how to reduce fuels.
Each resident must take responsibility for protecting
their family and property during an emergency as the
professionals cannot protect everyone. To help
Wedgefield residents learn about this, we sponsor
workshops and events.
Saturday, May 3rd is national Wildfire
Preparedness Day and we will have a FREE workshop to
help you learn more about wildfires and protecting your
property. This workshop will be held at the Wedgefield
Country Club, starting at 10:30 AM. All materials and
refreshments will be provided at no charge to
participants. We would appreciate it, if you would pre
register as seating is limited and to allow us to have
sufficient materials on hand. We hope you will join us
and learn more about who we are, what plants to use in
your landscape and how to make your property Firewise.
Currently we are working with a vender and hope to have
plants on hand to give one to everyone to take home as a
thank you. The speakers will remain after the event
for lunch and you are invited to join them for an
opportunity to have your questions answered personally.
Unfortunately our budget is not sufficient to allow us
to pay for your lunch. For further information or to
register, please contact Firewise Coordinators for this
event, Gail Wilds (407) 568-0737 or Lee Breedlove (407)
595-7238 or send an email to
Thank you for your continue support and please consider
joining us for this informative and fun gathering. Mary
Prescott, Chair, Wedgefield Firewise Community
In spite of
it being a rainy day, we had a good turn out for our 6th
Annual Car Show and Chili Cook Off on Saturday, February
8th. Everyone appeared to have a good time. Thank you
for coming and supporting our events.
want to thank all those who braved the not so pleasant
weather to show off their vehicles and to the three
judges who waded through puddles to give their fair and
impartial evaluation of each vehicle. Congratulation to
In the judged
competition the winners were:
First Place to Kenny Crites with his 1969 Chevrolet
Second Place to Jim Miner with his 1968 Ford Mustang
Third Place to Richard Harris with a 1935 Ford Coupe
winner of the Peoples Choice trophy was Kenny Crites and
Thank you to all who participated, to our sponsors, to
those who donated items for the raffle, to the
volunteers who braved the weather to make this another
successful event and to the community for their support.
29th, we will have two tables at the WHOA Yard Sale, one
is our information booth and we hope you will stop by,
meet some of the Firewise board members and pick up
brochures on protecting your home and property. At the
second booth we will sell donated items to help us raise
money to pay for the events and literature that we
provide at no cost to the public. If you have an item or
items you would like to donate to Firewise for this
table, please contact Debbie Goderis at 407-568-8555. We
appreciate what ever you can give, big or small. Don’t
forget to stop by that booth and browse the goodies we
will be selling and meet other members of the Firewise
Committee is planning our 2014 calendar and would like
to hear from you with your suggestions for community
events you would like us to do. Send us an email at
email@example.com. Our next meeting will be
on Thursday, March 13th, at 1:30 PM.
are held in the RDD conference room and we welcome you
to join us and share your suggestions and comments.
Wedgefield for your support.
Mary Prescott, Chair 407-568-7762
SHOW - 6TH ANNUAL CAR SHOW - FEBRUARY 8TH
Polish up the
car and join us for our car show on February 8th from 11
AM to 3 PM. Or prepare your favorite chili recipe and
enter the Chili Cook Off sponsored by WHOA. The entry
fee for either one is $25.00 and great prizes will be
awarded. The car show trophy winners will be selected by
a set of three judges and there will be, as usual, a
trophy for the Peoples Favorite that the public will
vote for. The Chili Cook Off winners are chosen by the
Official "Tasters/Judges", purchase a wrist band, taste
all the Chili and vote. As usual there will be food,
displays and raffles. Join us for a fun day, sample and
vote for your favorite chili and vote for your favorite
car. Interested in entering, see the registration form
in this newsletter. We look forward to seeing you and
thank you for your support of the events Wedgefield
Firewise and Wedgefield HomeOwners Assn. sponsor each
WELCOME TO 2014!
Wedgefield Firewise is pleased to announce that our
Annual Car Show will be on Saturday, February 8th. Once
again, we are partnering with Wedgefield Homeowners
Assn. who is sponsoring their Annual Chili Cook Off.
Registration for each is just $25.00. So polish up
the car and dig out your favorite chili recipe and join
us for a fun day.
This year winners of the trophies for the car show
will be selected by a set of 3 judges and in addition
there be a trophy for the "peoples choice".
For more information on registration or sponsorships
Car show Chili Cook Off
Mary Prescott Rich Mehochko
email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
CAR SHOW REGISTRATION:
CONTACT NUMBER &
T-SHIRT SIZE: ______M _______ L _______XL _______XXL
Please make checks payable to Wedgefield Firewise and
Wedgefield Firewise Community, P O Box 623, Christmas FL
THANK YOU. On December 7th, Wedgefield Firewise and
Wedgefield Homeowners Assn. sponsored an Open House at
the Wedgefield Fire Station in appreciation for their
support of this community and part of Mayor Jacobs
"Adopt a Fire Station" program.
Santa arrived at 1 PM, to have photos with the
children and some adults. Christmas wreaths were
presented to the fire station to hang on the front doors
of the station. Orange County Fire Rescue Department
supplied a bounce house shaped like a fire engine. In
addition, Forest Service provided for viewing equipment
that is used in plowing fire lines, the fire trucks were
on display and there were tours of the fire station. We
planned on serving cookies and hot
chocolate, however the weather was too warm for anything
hot. Thank you to everyone who donated cookies, cocoa
and candy canes and to everyone who made this another
great event for the community.
We are looking forward to another successful Firewise
year with events and workshops to help you the
Wedgefield resident protect your property during
wildfires. Help us help you by joining us at our monthly
meetings, support our events by volunteering to help or
attend these events, or make a donation or sponsorship.
Thank you for your support in 2013. As we submitted our
annual report in December to National Firewise, we were
able to report that over $57,000.00 was invested in
Wedgefield during 2013, this includes volunteers hours,
funds spent, clearing and reduction of fuels. Please
remember that this group works with a budget of less
than $2,000.00 per year, so we are really proud of our
accomplishments and hope to continue, with your support,
to do even more in 2014.
Mary Prescott, Chair
FREE Fun at the Fire Station - Santa and
Bounce House, Health Screenings, Safety Information
Join us on Saturday, December 7th from 1 PM to 3 PM
at Fire Station 86 in Wedgefield for an opportunity to
meet and thank the local firefighters for their service
to our community. A thank you presentation will occur
around 1:30 PM. Santa and Firefighters will be available
for photos, at a nominal charge to offset the cost of
the photos. A bounce house will be on site. Free hot
chocolate, cookies and candy canes for everyone
attending. Orange County will provide some health
screenings and there will be information tables on
safety and wildfires. Stop at the WHOA table for the
opportunity to meet a board member, sign up for
membership and support the community. This event is
sponsored by Wedgefield Firewise and Wedgefield
As I write this we are preparing for the
Annual Fall Festival and Landscaping Expo, which
promises to be more fun than last year. We hope you had
a chance to come by and enjoy a day in the park. An
event like this takes a lot of planning and hard work,
all done by volunteers and offered to the community
FREE. We want to thank all of those volunteers who made
it possible, plus the people and businesses who were
sponsors, made donations of raffle items and goody bag
items. Again, this year this event was co sponsored by
Wedgefield HomeOwners Association and Wedgefield
Firewise and the profits are used to benefit the
Wedgefield Community. We hope you will remember, if you
are asked to help in some way either by giving of your
time or money, that this is a community effort and you
are part of this community. The next event will the
Annual Car Show and Chili Cook Off, probably in
February, a date has not been chosen yet. Let us know
that you will support this event, either by volunteering
your time (maybe 1 or 2 hours), entering your car and/or
chili or consider being a sponsor. Help us make it
Thank you again, for your support. Wedgefield
Firewise strives to educate people about ways to
minimize home loss to wildfires.
Mary Prescott, Chair email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or telephone 407-568-7762
MEET THE LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS, SMOKEY BEAR AND
JOIN US ON OCTOBER 19TH FOR THE ANNUAL FALL FESTIVAL
AND LANDSCAPING EXPO
Be sure to bring your camera to take photos with them.
It is Fall and it is time for our Annual Fall
Festival and Landscaping Expo. Join us in the Wedgefield
Park for a relaxing afternoon of fun, October 19th from
11 to 3. This year we added a pumpkin carving contest
for the kids - only the kids- so bring your pre carved
pumpkin for judging, no fee to enter and prizes will be
We have lined up some great speakers for
presentations on growing roses, amazing succulents,
snakes, the role of RDD in Wedgefield, wildfires and a
demonstration of how controlled burns are started and
controlled and more. There will be a number of agencies
for displays and information that you will help you
landscape and protect your property and a plant vendor.
Two bounce houses will be available for the kids,
wristbands can be purchased for just $5.00 each at the
gate. Besides the great food prepared by the Wedgefield
chefs, there will be a bake sale, Pie and Cake Baking
Contest, cotton candy and balloons. And don't forget the
raffles. All of this will make for a "fun day" in the
park for the whole family and supports the community.
We still need donations of raffle items, sponsors,
and volunteers. See the full page ad on another page for
those details. Every sponsor gets a bag of "treats" and
we need items to put in those bags, coupons, business
cards, magnets, pencils, pens, rulers something to
advertise your business.
If you would like to donate or sponsor and want more
information, call Mary Prescott 407-568-7762 or Martha
Fioramanti 407-568-1963. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT. SEE
YOU IN THE PARK ON OCTOBER 19TH.
In past articles we have written about the importance
of having an evacuation plan not only for wildfires but
for hurricanes. We have given you ideas of things you
need to have ready to take with you if told to leave.
During a hurricane we have time to prepare however when
wildfires occur there is little time to gather and go.
Having things organized beforehand is imperative. It is
necessary to plan for your animals, whether dog, cat or
horse, they have to go too. How fast can you get them
and their necessities loaded and ready to leave?
Wildfires move quickly and often require immediate
actions - if you have a child that babysits, or use a
teen babysitter, make an opportunity soon to share your
emergency plan and clearly define the actions they
should and should not implement if a wildfire happens
while in a role of responsibility and leadership. A
recent study done by NFPA's Wildland Fire Operations
Division found a majority of middle and high school
youth they talked with had not been given any
instruction or information on what to do if a wildfire
occurs while acting in the capacity of babysitter. This
same group of teens said getting animals to safety in a
wildfire is very important to them - but they weren't
sure how, or if that would be their responsibility.
Ensure your babysitter knows what to do and who to call
for help during a wildfire.
Place stickers on entrances on how many animals are
in your home so in case of fire, firefighters know to
look for your pets.
These sites can help you develop and practice an
emergency plan along with information on improving your
home ignition zone; each of which has the potential to
provide a few moments of extra time that could be needed
to safely evacuate. FIrewise, NFPA, Ready, Set, Go,
Ready.gov, and the American Red Cross.
Mark your calendars for the Annual Fall Festival and
Landscaping Expo on October 19th in the Wedgefield Park.
We are lining up several new speakers with added
displays. We are looking for donations of raffle items
or sponsorships. Plus we are always looking for a few
people to assist us with minor details, so if you are
able to help set up in the morning, take down in the
afternoon, sell raffle tickets or help in any way during
the event, please let us know. email: email@example.com
or call Mary at 407-568-7762.
Thank you for your support.
Mary Prescott Chair
No August Article
It is June 15th and Summer has arrived in Florida
with temperatures already in the 90's and the afternoon
rains. With the rain comes lightning and thunder.
Lightning is the major cause of wildfires in Florida. We
can't stop the rain or lightning however we can be
prepared by reducing the fuel around our homes, trimming
the overhanging branches and creating a defensible
space. Look around your home and see what you can do to
make it safer or maybe team up with your neighbor and
evaluate each others property. If you go the website
www.firewise.org, click on Information and Resources and
then Homeowners, there are many ideas that you can use
to make your property safer and you can sign up for a
monthly newsletter. So far, this year in Florida only,
there have been 1618 wildfires that encompassed 38,738
acres. It never is IF a wildfire will come to your
neighborhood but when. So prepare now, just like you do
for hurricane season.
Did you know there are now over 900 Firewise
Communities in the United States? This program started
in 2001 with 7 communities. Wedgefield was 1 of 3 in the
State of Florida in the original 7. This is quite an
accomplishment over the past twelve years. Thanks to the
residents of Wedgefield we have been very successful in
reducing fuel and loss of property from wildfires. When
we sponsor events, like the Car Show or Landscaping Expo
we are hoping to reach out to people and educate them on
what we do and why it is done. Stop by our display and
let us give you some free literature and answer any
questions you might have. We are not asking you to take
out all the plants around your home but be selective
about what you plant near any structures and reduce the
fuel around in your yard.
WEDGEFIELD FIREWISE NOW HAS A PAGE YOU CAN ACCESS ON
FACEBOOK!! Click "like" and you will gain access to
upcoming events, notice of prescribed burns and how to
be a better Firewise resident.
Thank you for your support and for making Wedgefield
a great Firewise community. Our next meeting will on
Thursday, July 11th at 1:30 PM in the conference room of
Ranger Drainage District. Come join us.
Mary Prescott, Chair
Now is the time to prepare in case you have to
evacuate due to fire, hurricane, a hazardous material
spill or any life threatening situation.
The purpose of evacuation is to protect people from
life-threatening situations. Prior preparation will make
an evacuation go smoother and with less stress.
Make a list of necessary items, things you will need
or want to take.
Put the list where you can easily find it, like on the
Let all the household members know where it is and where
the necessary items are
Plan where all members will meet after leaving home
What should you take:
Important papers, insurance, passports, photo copies of
your ID and credit cards)
Flashlight with extra batteries
First Aid kit
Portable battery operated radio or TV with extra
Matches in a waterproof container
Glasses, contact lenses and solution
Extra clothing, including sturdy shoes, long sleeve
shirt and long pants.
Pets - they should have ID tags on collars, vet records,
carrier, leash, food and water
Cell phone charger
Prepare now before an emergency happens in our
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING AND MAKING US A PREMIER
Our next meeting is June 13th in the Ranger Drainage
District conference room. Our meetings start at 1:30 and
we invite you to join us.
Mary Prescott, Chair
Wildfire season is upon us. According to Florida
Forestry, there have been 950 wildfires in the state
since the beginning of the year. This does not include
the ones handled solely by local fire departments or
those never reported. The majority of these fires start
from lightning however carelessness and arson are also
responsible. Recently, St. John's River Water Management
District has been doing prescribed burning in Hal Scott
to reduce the fuel and the danger to residents of
Wedgefield. Now is a good time to look around your home
and see what you can do to make your property safer.
There are a few simple tips, such as cleaning out the
eaves, removing leaf clutter, removing dead and
overhanging branches and using plants that are less
flammable around the house.
We hope to see you at our Spring workshop on May 18th
at the Wedgefield Country Club. For more information
contact Connie DeVries 407-568-1829 or send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org. The planned speakers are
Cliff Frazier, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist with
Florida Forest Service, Brent McCallister, Landscape
Architect with Orange County Parks and Recreation and
the newest member of the Wedgefield Firewise Team,
Wedgefield resident Gail Wilds. Gail has been a State of
Florida Park Ranger, a Land Steward at Wekiwa Springs
State Park, Little Big Econ State Forest and Tosohatchee
State Reserve. She has conducted over 100 prescribed
burns as a Certified Burn Manager. In addition, Gail has
served on the Park Service BAT Team (Backlog Abatement
Team). The BAT Team was set up in 2004 to use prescribed
burning to mitigate heavy fuel loads on state lands.
Gail and her husband moved to Wedgefield in 1996 and she
is a huge proponent of Firewise and hopes to use her
expertise to benefit her neighborhood. This workshop is
free with refreshments provided and door prizes. Join
the speakers afterward for lunch and a chance to talk
with them one on one. Your lunch will be at your cost,
Thank you to everyone who stopped by our table at the
WHOA Yard Sale, it was great to talk with you and thank
you for your donations and support. We are looking for
someone who speaks Spanish to assist us at events. We
have some brochures in Spanish however we would like to
have someone who could communicate the message
personally. We can tell you the message and help you
relate to others. If you could join us at any event and
help us it would be greatly appreciated.
Don't forget our workshop on May 18th at Wedgefield
Country Club and then the Cattlemen's Breakfast on June
15th at Corner Lakes.
One of the primary goals of the Firewise program is
educating people on how to protect their homes and
property from wildfires. Each resident must take
responsibility for protecting their family and property
because during an emergency the professionals cannot
protect everyone. Wildfires move rapidly and emergency
personnel must make decisions very quickly that will
save the most homes. Now is the time to look around your
home and see what you can do to make it safer. Simple
things like cleaning the debris off your roof and out of
the eaves, clearing away dead vegetation, pine needles
and branches, trimming lower branches, removing vines
from trees and keeping shrubbery away from pine trees so
that a fire on the ground cannot climb up these fuel
ladders to the treetops. In addition, make sure your
home and mailbox have at least 3" house numbers so they
are easily identifiable. Numbers should be on both sides
of the mailbox so that no matter which way emergency
personnel are approaching they can find you.
These subjects and more will be presented and
discussed at our FREE Workshop on Saturday, May 18th
from 10 AM to Noon at the Wedgefield Country Club. We
invite you to join us and learn more about protecting
your property. There will be presentations by Florida
Forest Service, Orange County, and Firewise members. As
seating is limited we hope you will reserve your spot
now by calling Connie DeVries (407-568-1829) or send an
email to email@example.com. Refreshments will
be provided and your questions answered. Join Us.
We want to thank everyone who donated, sponsored and
supported the Annual Car Show/Chili Cook Off. It was a
great success and fun for everyone. We are taking the
suggestions that we received in planning next years. If
you have an idea or suggestion on how to make it better
or for another event you would like us to have, please
send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call
Mary Prescott 407-568-3016. Your financial support
allows us to, have put on workshops and events and not
charge admission. In addition we are able to purchase
needed materials to educate the public. This year we are
asking you to consider making an extra donation to help
us send at least one of our members to the National
Firewise Conference in November. This is an opportunity
to meet with professionals and other Firewise Community
leaders, attend training sessions and exchange ideas
that we can utilize in our community. We hope you will
consider making a donation and support us. Donations may
be sent to Wedgefield Firewise, P O Box 623, Christmas
FL 32709. Again, we thank you for your continue support
of all our events.
Mary Prescott, Chair
No March Article
On January 10th, we held our first meeting of 2013
and set some goals for the year, including more
educational events for the public and reducing fuel in
Wedgefield. We are planning several exciting events for
the year and hope you will plan on attending. The first,
of course, is the Annual Car Show and Chili Cook-Off on
February 9th which we co-sponsor with Wedgefield
HomeOwners Association. This is always a fun event with
cars traveling from all over Central Florida to
participate and voting by the public for their favorite
vehicle. Taste all the chili you desire and vote for the
best for only $3.00. Polish up the car and dig out your
favorite Chili recipe and be a part of the fun or just
come out and enjoy the cars and chili and vote for your
favorite. We hope to see YOU there. During the year, we
also plan on having 2 workshops in the community for
residents, open house at the Fire Station plus the
Landscaping Expo/Fall Festival.
The National Firewise Conference, will be held this
year from November 14th - 16th in Salt Lake City, Utah.
This education event is held every two years in
different locations and is a chance for Firewise
community members to get together, compare ideas and
stratregies on being a Firewise community, and learn
from professionals about the latest ways to reduce fuels
and protecting homes from wildfires. WE NEED YOUR
HELP!!! We would like to send 3-4 of our members to this
conference. All of our money comes from fund raisers and
donations. As a Not for Profit Corporation, any donation
you could make would be tax deductible and greatly
appreciated. Wedgefield was in the original Pilot
program and is celebrating 12 years as a recognized
Firewise Community. If you are able to financially help,
please send any amount to P O Box 623, Christmas, FL
32709 and indicate on your check that it is for the
Thank you for your continued support and we look
forward to seeing you at the Car Show and Chili
Mary Prescott, Chair 407-568-7762 or email
We hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season. As
we begin this new year, we hope you will consider making
your home more Firewise and helping your neighbors to do
it also. This is a dry season so look around and decide
what needs to be done to protect your property. Simple
things can make a big difference.
Reduce fuels by keeping shrubs and trees pruned and
remove dead and overhanging branches. Take out ladder
fuels (vegetation that serves a link between the grass
and the tree tops). Ladder fuels can carry a small fire
to a structure or from structure to vegetation. Remove
leaf clutter. Create breaks with driveways, sidewalks,
gravel walkways and lawn. Have a minimum of 30 feet
around any structure to accommodate fire equipment, if
necessary. Look around your yard now and reduce your
risk when a wildfire occurs.
February 9th is the Annual Car Show and Chili
Cook-Off. Please look for the Registration and
Sponsorship forms in this newsletter. If you are
entering a car, you can mail your completed form with
registration fee to P O Box 623, Christmas, FL 32709 or
call Mary (407-568-7762) to make arrangements to have it
picked up. Remember we accept any and all vehicles. If 5
or more motorcycles enter, we will have a separate
category and trophy. This year promises to be bigger and
better than in the past. So polish up your car, truck,
motorcycle and cook up your best chili recipe and be at
this great community event. We look forward to seeing
Thank you for your support. Mary Prescott.
Wedgefield Firewise Community has now been in
existence for 11 years. What makes our community
different from the majority of the Firewise Communities
is that we are led by residents not professionals. These
leaders determine the focus and direction that we will
follow. Many of the other communities are led by
professionals from Fire Departments, Forestry agencies,
Landscapers or Management companies. The resident board
members make suggestions and proposals but ultimately
the professionals have the final decision on any action
to be taken. At conferences and meetings, it is noted
that Wedgefield is an "authentic"
Firewise Community, following the original plan that was
developed in 2000, that is to be led by the community
and supported by official agencies.
Firewise Communities USA is a unique opportunity
available to America's fire prone communities. The goal
is to encourage and acknowledge action that minimizes
home loss to wildfires by teaching people how to prepare
for a fire before it occurs. For you, as a resident of a
Firewise Community, it means learning what you can do to
protect your family and home when a wildfire is
threatening and to have a plan to evacuate, if
necessary. Each resident must take responsibility for
protecting their family and property during an
emergency. The professionals cannot protect everyone.
Our job as a Firewise board is to educate people
regarding wildfires, how to protect their properties,
how to reduce fuels, ways to landscape that can make
your home safer and by reducing the fuel such as on
easements and preserved lands. Each year we sponsor free
workshops, participate and sponsor community events and
search for ways to reduce fuel in and around the
community. As we come to the end of 2012, we thank you
for your support this year, for attending our events,
for being sponsors, making donations, attending
workshops and reducing the fuel around your home. Our
success as a Firewise Community depends on you.
We welcome as our newest board member, Gail Wilds,
Wedgefield resident, former Wildland Firefighter and
Certified Burn Boss to our team. Gail will be looking
for funds/grants to help us accomplish our goals.
The Annual Car Show and Chili Cook Off sponsored by
Wedgefield Firewise and Wedgefield HomeOwners
Association is scheduled for February 9, 2013. Mark your
calendar, polish up those cars and perfect that chili
recipe. We look forward to seeing you then. Details will
be in the next newsletter.
If you have questions or suggestions, our email
address is email@example.com.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Wedgefield
Helen Barger, Lee Breedlove, Blanche Caesar, Cecil
Davis, Connie DeVries, Anita Dukes, Cliff Frazier,
Debbie Goderis, Pete Henn, Beth Jackson, Wil Kitchings,
Nancy May, Brent McCallister, Judy Miller, Dennis Mudge,
John Mulhall, Mary Prescott, Nancy Stickrod, Janis Thaw,
Timber Weller, and Gail Wilds
Wedgefield a Firewise Community since 2001
We hope you were able to attend the Fall
Festival/Landscape Expo on October 13th in Wedgefield
Park. There were tables with lots of interesting
information plus presentations by various agencies.
Thank you to Beth Jackson of Environmental Protection
Department, Brent McCallister, Orange County Parks and
Recreation, Dennis Mudge, Orange County/University of
Florida Extension Agent, Cliff Frazier, Florida Forest
Service and Pete Henn, St. John's River Water Management
District. Pete did a presentation on how and why
prescribed burning is done and showed some of the tools
they use to start fires. Tom MacCubbin was our featured
speaker, who spoke on different grasses and plants for
yards and answered gardening questions. Thank you to
everyone for your continued support of these events.
The focus of our group is education of residents and
reduction of fuel in areas around structures. Residents
can learn how to protect their properties before a
wildfire by some very simple landscaping techniques,
such as creating a 30 foot defensible space, using less
flammable plants near a structure, and keeping gutters
clean. In addition, make it easy for emergency personnel
by having 3" or larger number on both sides of your
mailbox and a driveway that is easy for emergency
equipment to access. Finally be prepared to evacuate if
If you would like more information or a brochure,
send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our next
meeting will be at the RDD Building at 1:30 PM on
Thursday, November 8th and we invite you to join us.
Again, we appreciate your input and support.
Mary Prescott, Chair
Did you mark your calendar for Saturday, October
13th? That is the date of the Annual Fall Festival and
Landscaping Expo. This year Firewise has joined WHOA and
instead of two separate great events we are having one
really stupendous event. Come and see for yourself. This
year Firewise is arranging to have continuous speakers
during the event, and at this time we have commitments
from Dennis Mudge, Extension Agent with Orange
County/University of Florida, Brent Mc Callister,
Landscape Architect with Orange County, Beth Jackson,
Environmental Program Supervisor with Orange County
Environmental Protection Department, Tom Horras with
Home Depot, Pete Henn of St. John's River Water
Management District and of course, Tom MacCubbin,
author, TV and Radio personality. We expect to have two
or three additional presentations by the date of the
event. So bring your chairs and enjoy all the programs.
There will be lots of information booths, plus plant
sales, food, face painting, and more. See the flyer in
this newsletter for more details. Sponsorships are
available and donations are welcome.
On August 18th, we sponsored a workshop at the
Country Club which was well attended. Thanks to
Sieffert's Nursery we were able to give each person 2
plants for their garden. For those who missed this
workshop, watch our 2013 calendar for the next ones. In
case, you have never attended one, we have speakers
discussing using Firewise plants in your landscaping,
how to create defensible space, why controlled burns are
important, how to prepare for a wildfire, how to
Firewise landscape your yard and more.
If you enjoyed last month's article, it was written
by Wedgefield resident, Nancy Stickrod, the byline was
missing and I think she should be recognized for taking
the time and making the effort. Thank you Nancy.
We are looking for a few residents to join our board,
to bring new ideas and suggestions, no experience
necessary. If you are interested send us an email at
email@example.com or call Mary at
Thank you for your support and contributions. Hope to
see you on October 13th. Mary Prescott
Firewise by Nancy Stickrod
I am a WHOA member and on the committee of Firewise.
Oh yeah, those are the people who are always sticking
pamphlets in our hands!
Well, we do a whole lot more. Firewise is about
knowledge, knowledge is power. We are not asking anyone
to pull up their plants or cut down their trees.
When it comes time to replant or replace plants, we ask
you consider using Firewise plants. Firewise has a great
pamphlet for you to select from for Firewise plants and
trees, plants that are less flammable. Remember we are
about knowledge, some of the organizations we are
affiliated with are Florida Forest Service, Orange
County Fire Rescue Department, Orange County Parks and
Recreation, Orange County/University of Florida
Extension Service, Orange County Environmental
Protection Department, Ranger Drainage District and St.
John's River Water Management District.
Mary Prescott is the head of our Firewise committee,
this is her 11th year of leadership. We were among the
first 7 communities in the USA selected for the pilot
program of Firewise.
You have to be INVITED to be a speaker at the national
conference, which Mary Prescott has done three times in
the past. We have no grants, no business sponsorships,
we have only
what our committee can collect. We do that by going to
the vendors/businesses around the area and get items to
be raffled off and we depend on your cash donations.
We would like grow, and do more community events but our
budget is very limited. We have workshops and I
guarantee you will always come out learning something
new and get your questions answered.
The Fall Festival and Landscaping Expo is coming up on
October 13th, so please remember to stop by our table,
pick up a pamphlet and help Firewise financially
We have all been hearing about the devastating
wildfires in the West especially in Colorado, but did
you know that as of today (July 16) there are 29
wildfires burning in Florida that encompass 561 acres.
Any that were in Orange County were finally extinguish
over the week end. Now, we need to think about the days
ahead and prepare. Create that 30 foot defensible space
today around your structures to reduce your wildfire
threat. In the defensible space, remove flammable plants
that contain resins, oils and waxes that burn readily.
Palmettos, Gallberry, Juniper, Pampas Grass, Eucalyptus,
Wax Myrtle, Fountain Grass, American Holly and Pine
trees should NOT be in the defensible space. Prune the
trees so that the lowest branches are at least 6 to 10
feet high to prevent a fire on the ground from spreading
to the tree tops. Driveways, walkways and areas of green
turf will slow or stop an advancing fire. It is
important that your home is identified, use 3" or larger
numbers on both sides of your mailbox. During an
emergency seconds can count, so make it easy to find
your address. Can your property be easily accessed by
emergency equipment? Typically, emergency equipment is
backed in a driveway so they can easily evacuate if
necessary. If they cannot access your structure during a
wildfire they may have to bypass your home altogether.
Remember wildfires move rapidly and emergency personnel
must make decisions that will save the most homes. In
addition, you should have evacuation plans, knowing
ahead of time what you are going to take. Make a list of
necessities and plan ahead.
Our next event will be a workshop on August 18th at
the Wedgefeild Country Club, starting at 9:30 AM. We
plan to have Dennis Mudge, Extension Agent with Orange
County/University of Florida, Brent McCallister,
Landscape Architect with Orange County Parks and
Recreation and Wil Kitchings, Forest Area Supervisor
with Florida Forest Service. If possible there may be
one or two Master Gardeners on hand to answer questions
also. Coffee, Ice Tea and Danish will be provided to all
participants. Seating will be limited so please take
time to register by sending an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mary at
407-568-7762. After the workshop, you are welcome to
join our speakers for lunch and talk to them one on one.
Your lunch will be at your own cost of course.
Then mark your calendar for the Fall
Festival/Landscaping Expo on October 13th. Tom MacCubbin
will be speaking plus we plan to have continuous
presentations regarding landscaping.
Thank you for your continued support.
Mary E Prescott President/Wedgefield Firewise
On June 14th, we held our meeting at the Orange
County/University of Florida Cooperative Extension
Service office on Conway Road, as guests of Dennis Mudge,
Extension Agent. Before our regular meeting, Dennis gave
us a tour of the buildings and grounds with a discussion
on Firewise planting. I think everyone came away with a
better understanding of the services the Extension
Service provides to the community.
FREE TREES - Yes, we have arranged to have our annual
workshop with free trees. We have set the date for
Thursday, July 26th at 6 PM in the Bithlo Community
Center located at 18501 Washington Avenue. We plan to
have presentations how to have a Firewise yard, what
plants to use in a Firewise landscape, protecting your
home from wildfires and how to care for your new tree.
You must attend the entire workshop to receive a tree.
We will have Red Maples and Magnolias. It is recommended
that you pre register by sending us an email (WedgefieldFirewise@gmail.com)
with your name, address, telephone number, email address
and preference of tree. So mark your calendar and let us
know that you will be there.
We are trying to arrange a Saturday morning workshop
in August or September in Wedgefield. If you would be
interested in participating, please let us know.
Our next meeting will be at 1:30 PM on Thursday, July
12th at the RDD office. We hope you will join us.
Join us at the Cattlemen's Breakfast on June 30th at
the Corner Lake Shopping Center in front of Tractor
Supply. There will be lots of great displays, vendors,
raffle items including a saddle and a really delicious
breakfast. The event starts at 6 AM and is usually over
before 10 AM, so come early.
Our next meeting which will be on June 14th will be
held at the Orange County Extension Service as guests of
Extension Agent Dennis Mudge. Dennis will give a short
presentation on good landscaping plants and a tour of
the facility. If you are interested in joining us, send
an email to email@example.com by June 11th or
contact one of our members. We will car pool from the
Wedgefield County Club.
We are planning to have at least two workshops during
the summer, an evening presentation and one on a
Saturday morning. We hope you will consider attending
one of these. Not only will there be a lot of good
information by professionals but we hope to have plants
to give away also. This is your chance to ask the
experts how to landscape and protect your home from the
threat of wildfires. If you are interested, please send
us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us
know what time works best for you.
We invite you to join us at our meetings and/or
workshops as we strive to educate residents about
wildfires, protecting their property and how to make
their home and family safer before a wildfire threatens.
Mary Prescott, President 407-568-7762
The mission of Wedgefield Firewise is the education
of Florida residents regarding wildfires and the ways
they can protect their properties and how to reduce
Each resident MUST take responsibility for protecting
their family and property as during an emergency the
professionals cannot protect everyone.
This can be achieved by reducing fuels, creating 30
feet of defensible space around each structure and using
plants in the defensible area that are less flammable.
In addition, it is important that your home is
identified and can easily be accessed by emergency
equipment. During and emergency seconds can count, so
make your home easy to find. During fires/wildfires,
typically emergency equipment is backed in a driveway so
they can easily evacuate if necessary. If they can not
easily access your structure, they will have to park on
the road or in case of wildfires they may have to bypass
your home altogether.
Please remember that wildfires move rapidly and
emergency personnel must make decisions that will save
the most homes/structures. Make it easy for them to find
you and be able to access your property so they can help
Join us at one of our monthly meetings. The meetings
are held the second Thursday of each month beginning at
1;30 PM at the Ranger Drainage District office on
Bancroft Blvd. It was good to see so many of you at the
WHOA Annual Yard Sale and we thank you for your
donations and your continued support.
Mary Prescott - email@example.com
All of you are aware this has been a very dry winter.
This lack of rain combined with a few nights of frost
has increased the amount of fuel around everyone's home.
St. John's River Water Management District, Florida
Forestry Service and Deseret Ranch have tried to reduce
this fuel with controlled burns however weather
conditions have to be just right before a burn will be
authorized. Now is the time for you to look around your
property and see what you can do to reduce the fuels
near your home.
Here are some reminders:
Leave a minimum of 30 feet around the house to
accommodate fire equipment if necessary.
Carefully space the trees you plant.
Take out ladder fuels (vegetation that serves as a
link between grass and tree tops) Ladder fuels can carry
a fire to a structure or from structure to vegetation.
Create fuel breaks, like driveways, sidewalks, gravel
walkways and lawn.
Keep shrubs and trees pruned. Prune trees up to 6 ft
to 10 ft from the ground
Remove leaf clutter and dead and overhanging branches
A little cleaning up now could reduce your risk when a
We were happy to see so many of you at the Annual Car
Show and Chili Cook Off. This year it was double the
size of last year and already we have received
suggestions to make next years even bigger and better.
Thank you to all the donors, sponsors, those who
attended the event and especially to everyone who
brought out a vehicle or vehicles to show off. And a
special thank you to all the volunteers. Please see the
President's message for more details. We hope you picked
up some of the material regarding Firewise and
landscaping your property during that event. If you
missed it, stop by our table at the WHOA Annual Yard
Interested in attending a workshop? We hope to sponsor
at least two this year and if you are interested in
attending one, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
and let us know the days and times that are best for you
Thank you for your support. Mary Prescott, President