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Monday May 4th, 2015 2:10AM

Fire Adapted Communities - one year later; expansion of program in the works

By Staff
DEMOREST - In April of 2013 the Chestatee-Chattahoochee RC&D Council was chosen as one of only eight organizations in the country to help develop the Fire Adapted Communities (FAC) wildfire safety and education concept. <br /> <br /> Towns County was chosen as the pilot community since it had been in the lead in Georgia with the number of certified Firewise Communities and along with the GEorgia Forestry Commission, developed the first Community Wildfire Protection Plan in Georgia in 2008. <br /> <br /> Chestatee/Chattahoochee has worked for the past year in Towns to develop the FAC concept and has developed a process that works best for a community such as Towns to develop plans to educate and protect the citizens from the dangers of wildfire, according to the RC&D Executive Director, Frank Riley.<br /> <br /> Riley adds the RC&D is now making plans to spread the FAC concept to neighboring counties so their citizens can enjoy the benefits of being educated and prepared for the eventual wildfire that sooner or later will visit their community. <br /> <br /> He says the FAC concept works, as evidenced by the results from the first year in Towns County some of which are: * lowered wildfire calls by 75%, * added 9 Firewise Communities for a total of 12, * working to train the Towns volunteer firefighters for wildfire response, *Towns has had 4 wildfires this year where some of the neighboring counties without FAC and Firewise have had 8 to 10 times as many, * formed the Towns County FAC Citizens Coalition to take ownership of the FAC program so it can grow into the future, and * Towns was honored to have a key partner, Mike Davis, win the prestigious Silver Smokey Bear award which is the highest regional award given by the Forest Service for wildfire education and prevention. <br /> <br />
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