Fire-Wise Landscaping: Protecting your Home

Many Barefoot Resort residents have learned the hard way about being "Fire-Wise," and that includes having landscaping that's fire resistant.

The Wax Myrtle Plant, what Myrtle Beach was named after, is a beautiful plant - but also pretty flammable.

You should avoid planting it right next to your house.

Then there's pine straw, used all over the Grand Strand. And it may have been what caused some of the homes in North Myrtle Beach to catch fire.

Pine straw is everywhere at Barefoot Resort.

It's around every tree, every flower bed, nearly every home, including, I'm sorry to say, my own.

But many homeowners in Barefoot, like Phil Polito, are waking up to this potential fire hazard. "I never thought about it before, but this serves as a prime example. We do not need pine straw," said Phil.

"Mulches that are light and fluffy dry out quickly, " said regional forester Debbie Price. She says pine straw ignites easily and can be carried by the wind.

She says heavier mulches are better. "Bark mulches, cypress mulch, they all hold more moisture than lighter mulches. They also do not ignite as readily, so hardwood bark, pine bark would both be better selections."

Also, think about what plants you have next to your home. Some are less flammable than others.

"Azalea, gardenia, loropetulum, barberry, all those are common, nice looking, landscape plants that would be less likely to ignite and burn if there is a wildfire," suggested Price.

So, forestry officials advise you to keep pine straw away from your home, even though the Forestry Commission itself sells pine straw to the public.

They sell it to raise a little revenue. Debbie Price said, "There are things you can do if you do have it, not saying wholesale you got to get rid of it."

There's a Barefoot Resort Homeowners Association meeting coming up on Wednesday. Several homeowners say they're going to insist to the property manager that in common areas maintained by the homeowners association, pine straw has to go.

link to firewise site: