South Walton Community Earns First “Firewise” Certification - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

South Walton Community Earns First “Firewise” Certification in County

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In the event of a fire, seconds count, but planning ahead can mean the difference between prevention and destruction. One Walton County community is taking this to heart and getting noticed.

The Hidden Dunes Community in Miramar Beach is proud of their attention to detail; not just aesthetically, but safety as well.  Now, they've made it official by becoming the first fire-wise community in the county.

"The ultimate goal from being fire wise is if you can have a home stand alone as a wild fire approach, it...that's being perfectly fire wise," said Florida Forestry Service Public Information Officer, Brian Goddin

Gooddin said it's the little things people may ignore that cause the largest fire damage.

"People don't realize that homes burn down from a wildfire from the small things...from that ember traveling over a mile from a wildfire and landing on their property," said Goddin.

In a community surrounded by trees and brush, a small ember can cause major damage unless you are prepared.

Hidden Dunes partnered with the Forestry Service and the South Walton Fire District to cut down overgrown vegetation, replace wood siding with non-flammable alternatives, add metal roofs and add hoses in fire prone areas

South Walton Fire Chief, Rick Talbert, was pleased.

"Doing some of the steps that they've done to be fire wise are helpful in those critical first moments when a fire does occur. It's the difference between a lot of significant fire damage or harm to someone," said Talbert.

For Community Association President, Richard Metcalf, an official firewise certification is great, but knowing his community is prepared is that much sweeter.

"The fire prevention is just kind of icing on the cake," said Metcalf.

The Florida Forestry Service invites you to learn more about becoming a firewise community via their website:

http://www.floridaforestservice.com/wildfire/firewise_your_home.html