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      Windsor Green community certified "Firewise"

      File image of the aftermath of the Windsor Green fire

      The Windsor Green community in Carolina Forest, which suffered a devastating fire in March of 2013, has earned Firewise certification from the National Firewise Communities program after months of work.

      According to a news release from the community, a wildfire hazard assessment and action plan was developed with the help of South Carolina State Forestry Commission officials to help the community minimize its risk to future fire events.

      "Since the terrible fire of March 16th, 2013 which consumed 26 buildings and left over 190 people homeless, the Board of Directors has worked diligently to achieve this goal of Firewise Certification," the release said.

      In order to earn the certification the community worked to remove excess pine straw, take down pine trees overhanging on roofs and removing flammable plants that were too close to buildings. The new buildings were also built with sprinklers to comply with updated fire codes, according to the release.

      The community also went smoke-free on July 1, except in designated areas. The release said that new smoking policy was adopted "to help in reducing the number of discarded cigarette butts which could spark a fire."

      "Achieving Firewise recognition is not a quick and easy process. Windsor Green has done an outstanding job creating a local Firewise task force and implementing Firewise principles", said Michelle Steinberg, support manager of the Firewise Communities program. "By preparing homes, structures, and landscapes before a wildfire occurs, Windsor Green has dramatically increased the chance that they will be better protected when a wildfire occurs.