Firewise Communities

April Article

 

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 wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com

 

Thank you for your continue support and please consider joining us for this informative and fun gathering.  Mary Prescott, Chair, Wedgefield Firewise Community


March Article

 

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.
 

We certainly 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 the winners.
 

In the judged competition the winners were:
First Place to Kenny Crites with his 1969 Chevrolet Camaro
Second Place to Jim Miner with his 1968 Ford Mustang
Third Place to Richard Harris with a 1935 Ford Coupe

 

and the winner of the Peoples Choice trophy was Kenny Crites and 1969 Camaro.


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.
 

On March 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 Board.
 

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 wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com. Our next meeting will be on Thursday, March 13th, at 1:30 PM.

Our meetings are held in the RDD conference room and we welcome you to join us and share your suggestions and comments.
 

Thank you Wedgefield for your support.
Mary Prescott, Chair 407-568-7762
wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com

 


February Article

 

SHINE AND 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 year.


January Article

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 contact:
Car show Chili Cook Off
 Mary Prescott Rich Mehochko
407-568-7762                                       407-701-3468
email: wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com ramehochko@mindspring.com

CAR SHOW REGISTRATION:

 NAME:___________________________________________________________________

ADDRESS: ________________________________________________________________

CONTACT NUMBER & EMAIL:________________________________________________

VEHICLE YEAR________MAKE_____________________MODEL_____________________

T-SHIRT SIZE: ______M _______ L _______XL _______XXL

Please make checks payable to Wedgefield Firewise and mail to:
Wedgefield Firewise Community, P O Box 623, Christmas FL 32709

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.

Thank you.
Mary Prescott, Chair
wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com


2013 Articles

December Article

 FREE Fun at the Fire Station - Santa and Firefighters!
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 Homeowners Association.


November Article

 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 success.

Thank you again, for your support. Wedgefield Firewise strives to educate people about ways to minimize home loss to wildfires.

Mary Prescott, Chair email: wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com or telephone 407-568-7762


October Article

MEET THE LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS, SMOKEY BEAR AND SCARECROW.
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 given.

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.


September Article

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: wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com or call Mary at 407-568-7762.

Thank you for your support.
Mary Prescott Chair


No August Article


July 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


June Article

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 refrigerator.
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:

Medicine
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 batteries
Matches in a waterproof container
Glasses, contact lenses and solution
Cash
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 community.

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING AND MAKING US A PREMIER FIREWISE COMMUNITY.

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
wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com


May Article

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 wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com. 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, of course.

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.


April Article

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 wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.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 wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com 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


February 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 conference.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you at the Car Show and Chili Cook-Off.
Mary Prescott, Chair 407-568-7762 or email wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com


January Article

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 you.

Thank you for your support. Mary Prescott.


2012 Articles

December Article

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 wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Wedgefield Firewise Community

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


November Article

FIREWISE
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 necessary.

If you would like more information or a brochure, send an email to wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com. 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


October Article

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 wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com or call Mary at 407-568-7762.

Thank you for your support and contributions. Hope to see you on October 13th. Mary Prescott


September Article

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
Thank you.


August Article

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 wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com 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


July Article

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.


June Article

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 wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.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 wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com 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
wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com


May Article

 

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 fuels.

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 you.

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 - wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com


 

April Article

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 wildfire occurs.

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 Sale.
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 wedgefieldfirewise@gmail.com and let us know the days and times that are best for you to attend.

Thank you for your support. Mary Prescott, President

 

 
 
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