On Monday, August 14th and Tuesday, August 15th, Southwestern NC RC&D Council cohosted Firewise Community interest meetings in Swain County and Maggie Valley, respectively. Approximately 30 people attended each meeting, with attendees consisting of members of the public and representation from organizations such as the US Forest Service, North Carolina Forest Service, Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, and North Carolina Cooperative Extension.
Both meetings discussed the natural role that wildfire plays in Western North Carolina ecosystems and the need for homeowners and communities to take responsibility for their safety. While some actions to that effect can occur at the homeowner level, the Firewise Communities program offers groups of homeowners a simple pathway to effectively reducing their fire risk together.
Attendees of both meetings expressed gratitude that the issue of wildfire safety was being discussed, especially considering the severity of the 2016 fall fire season. Further coverage of both meetings can be found at Blue Ridge Public Radio and The Mountaineer.