Firewise Communities/USA

Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program encourages and acknowledges citizens action to reduce community wildfire risk.  the program capitalizes on a community's spirit, its resolve and its willingness to take responsibility for its wildfire ignition potential.

The program provides a flexible template for residents of homeowners associations or small towns to improve their wildfire readiness and works as an organizing mechanism for initiating wildfire mitigation actions.  Participation in Firewise Communities/USA is an ongoing process of community commitment to wildfire safety.

During the month of November 2016, Pine Mountain Estates kept a watchful eye on the South Mountain State Park wildfire that consumed over 6,000 acres.  Because of this, Pine Mountain Estates has started a new Committee called "Firewise" after the Firewise Communities Program that encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of a wildfire.  Firewise is co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the US Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters.

Contratulations to Pine Mountain

Firesie USA Pine Mountain Estates

Through the efforts of our Firewise Committee and the Members of Pine Mountain, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) now recognizes Pine Mountain Property Owners Association as a Firewise USA community!

Click on the "Firewise USA" logo above to learn more.

Pine Mountain Firewise Assessment

January 2017, Eric Muecke, Urban Forestry Specialist and Firewise Program Assistant along with a couple of Pine Mountain's Firewise Committee members, physically reviewed and documented the Pine Mountain Community.  The results were presented in an assessment book that contains a load of information each and every home and property owner needs to know.  Please download a copy of the Pine Mountain Estates Firewise Communities/USA Project book and your copy of the Individual Home Owner Assessment Sheet.

The National Firewise Communitites/USA has created "A User Reference Guide to the Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program" that is filled with valuable information.  

Firewise Grant:

Attention all property owners of Pine Mountain:  To see and understand the Pine Mountain Firewise 2017 Grant and how your participation counts and matters, click "Pine Mountain Firewise 2017 Grant" to receive your copy.

Firewise Time Sheet:

Keep track of your FIREWISE hours!   Click here to download your FIREWISE Time Sheet!!!!

These sheets are to be used for any time or money you spend on your home and/or surrounding property for the purpose of reducing the probability of wildfire loss.

Examples of Activities:

  • Removing trees, brush, grass from around your structures
  • Cleaning gutters of pine needles and other debris.  Cleaning the roof and clearing anything flammable from within 3-feet of the base of the structure.
  • Removing tree limbs less than 6 - 10 feet from the ground around structures
  • Replacing a shake-shingle roof with a non-flammable alternative

Please turn in your completed Home Assessment and Time sheets to any member of the Firewise Committee.

Pine Mountain Firewise Committee Update:

By:  Ruth Robertson

Dave gave the committee an update on our being approved as a recognized Firewise community.  Among other benefits, we can now also begin using the NFPA logo on all our correspondence.  There are a number of items we will receive to include some signs with the logo on it which Dave proposed be put at the entry to Pine Mountain as well as at the intersection of Pine Ridge Drive and Sanderling.  Additional brochures that can be used in our community awareness efforts will also be received, along with window decals and additional copies of the homeowner’s assessment form.  Some of the brochures and home assessment forms will be passed along to those participants playing in our upcoming fundraiser golf tournament on behalf of the SMFR.

Dave stated that Firewise needs a budget set up and/or a Firewise Fund established because every five years we will need a new assessment completed for our community. 

Dave suggested that we use official Firewise and Forest Service items for some of the door prize giveaways at the golf tournament.  Dave will check out these items on the NFPA and Forest Service websites to see what is available to be ordered.  Ruth reviewed the list of tasks and volunteers assigned on our to-do list for the tournament.  Ruth and Wenke are scheduled to meet with the SMFR ladies auxiliary on March 9 to solicit their help with getting the word out on the golf tournament and to help out on the day of the tournament with the luncheon for the participants.  Ruth reported that as of Mar 2 when the voting ended for the grant projects that Firewise communities across the country submitted, Pine Mountain was the 6th largest vote getter out of 383 entries nationwide.  We fell just short of 1000 votes for our grant project.  This was a huge effort on behalf of Pine Mountain residents and the Firewise Committee is very appreciative of everyone who helped with the voting.

There was some discussion regarding what information and resources SMFR has access to from NFPA.  Edie will talk with Chief Hudson and report back to the committee.  Securing some of these resources for our fire department could be one of our goals along with our fundraisers.

Dave noted that our renewal application for 2018 will be due by November 16.  Ruth said that she will begin inputting timesheet information into the 2018 portal for our renewal application as these items are received, rather than waiting until November.  She can begin this as soon as Dave gets us set up in the portal. 

Gary gave us an update on our signs.  A total of 29 will be ordered.  Some are replacement signs for old signs currently in place, and others are combo signs that will show No Trespassing, Private Road and the speed limit on one sign versus the three that are currently in place.  Other signs will be new ones.  Some of these signs will satisfy what was recommended when our first assessment was completed.  They will also improve our curb appeal as they are customized signs that are attractive.  The cost is $630 total.  $500 of this total will come from Fred and Vonis Waugh’s donation to the POA. Gary & Wanda, Dave and Edie, and Ruth and Randy have volunteered to split the cost of the overage.  Gary will check to see what is available for use as posts for the signs from supplies already in storage here at the POA.  The committee recommended we use metal versus wood for posts if possible.

The Firewise page for the Pine Mountain website needs to be updated.  Ruth will send minutes of our most recent meetings to Wanda each month to be posted in the update section, and Dave will send Wanda the NFPA Firewise logo to use.  Our metrics for 2018 need to be updated as well and Ruth will send that information to Wanda.

Dave has talked with the NC Forestry Service about our having a bon fire to rid ourselves of some of the fuel here on the mountain.  He was told this is perfectly acceptable but with the caution that whoever lights the fire must stay with it until it is extinguished. 

A future goal for our Firewise Committee is to get fire hydrants on the North Ridge down to Hackberry.  Jonathan Griffin has stated he will be willing to pay for a water tap on the North Ridge since that will also benefit South Mountains State Park.  Dave advised that Pine Mountain needs to increase usage of the North Ridge water tower as low usage is not good for the tank. 

Our next meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 7, at 7:00 p.m. at the POA office, where final plans for the Golf Tournament will be discussed.

Program Requires:

  • Complete a community assessment
  • Form a Firewise board or committee in order to accept the assessment, create an action plan and monitor activity.
  • Hold a Firewise Day event
  • Invest at least $2/capita annually in community mitigation activities
  • Complete and submit a program application

Working Together:

Relying on physical and social science research

Residents learn how their homes ignite based on physical principles and thus how to modify their surrounding to reduce ignition risks.  Social science principles helps program leaders and advocates use effective risk communication and behavior change techniques to ensure that individuals and organizations in a diverse society can receive important safety messages and act upon them.

Keep an eye out on Pine Mountain's Facebook page for all FIREWISE activities!