Efforts over the past year to advise homeowners on practices to reduce the risk from wildfires in Montreat have come together in a new Landcare Committee project. Working with the Montreat Tree Board and N.C. Forest Service, members of the community have held educational events for the public and obtained print and online materials for all interested persons to become better informed about wildfire hazards and how to reduce risk to buildings. A description of the Montreat Landcare “Wildfire Safety:Firewise” project is available at http://www.montreatlandcare.org/project/wildfire-safety-firewise/ .

One important resource for homeowners is the “Firewise” handbook, at http://townofmontreat.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Firewise-1.pdf. For more information about the Montreat Tree Board, see .http://townofmontreat.org/tree-board/.

An important practice for all homeowners, especially those who are seasonal, is to be sure that excessive amounts of underbrush, taller vegetation, and leaf debris are removed from the area immediately around a home or garage. It is noteworthy that rhododendron and mountain laurel can be particularly flammable, so careful pruning is important to reduce risk from spreading wildfire. The photo illustrates one homeowner’s efforts to clear out vegetation close to the home, while still leaving significant shrub and tree cover to maintain a beautiful yard. See Town of Montreat guidelines for yard trash pick-up at http://townofmontreat.org/sanitation/