Mississippi Forestry Commission encourages "Firewise Communities - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi Forestry Commission encourages "Firewise Communities"

WIGGINS, MS (WLOX) -

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

WIGGINS, MS (WLOX) - It's a program to help home owners reduce the risk of wildfire danger. The Mississippi Forestry Commission and other groups hosted a workshop at Flint Creek Thursday.

"Firewise" is a wildfire prevention program and community designation. Home owners can learn that simple things like raking the leaves and choosing the proper landscaping can greatly reduce their risk of damage from wildfires. If a home owner is informed, they can make good choices.

Leslie Blackwell encourages home owners to be pro-active in defending their houses against wildfire.   

With a growing number of people choosing to live adjacent to woods or grasslands, "Firewise" offers easy ways to reduce the risk.

"You can do simple things around the house such as raking your yard, keeping the grass cut down to a low height, getting up on the roof and sweeping the roof. Get with a ladder and clean out the gutters. Those are places where burning embers from a forest fire can land and start fires around your home," said Blackwell.

Besides keeping your yard cut, landscaping is also an important consideration.  Certain types of plants are far more flammable than others.

"Firewise suggests using plants that have a high moisture content in the leaf, versus plants that have a high content of resin, oil or waxes," Blackwell suggests.

Ensuring adequate water supplies for fighting wildfires is also a part of the program.

Wiggins firefighters practice connecting to a so-called "dry hydrant" at Flint Creek's lake.

"We call it a dry hydrant because it's not pressurized. We just use a suction to pull the water from the creek," said Wiggins Fire Chief Jody Hatten."It provides like a hydrant. Comes up out of the ground from the lake and we hook our truck to it and it pulls the water out of the creek or lake or whatever the dry hydrant is in."

The forestry commission encourages home owner associations and neighborhood groups to learn about "Firewise."

"If everybody's working together, then you as a whole community can become a firewise community and you can relax a little bit about doing some things you do 'cause you know you're doing the best you can to protect your communities," said educator Patty Rogers.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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