Florida wildfire season: Taking steps to keep homes, people safe during brush fire season
6:24 PM, Mar 8, 2013
9:01 AM, Mar 9, 2013
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - The Walden Woods neighborhood in Port St. Lucie is filled with quaint, colored homes and nice neighbors.
"It's a beautiful place, I'll tell ya. We love it here," said resident Alan Radomski.
The thing that Walden Woods residents love more than anything is also what scares them.
"We know we live in the middle of the forest here. We try to keep our fire risk down as much as possible," said Radomski. "A little trimming makes the community a lot safer."
This time of year, they trim and clear and keep tabs of how close trees get to the tops of their homes.
On one side, they're all made of wood.
With these surroundings, wildfire is only a spark away.
On a scale of one to ten, it's on my mind nine," said HOA association president Marc Begley.
They got a big scare five years ago when firefighters blocked a wildfire from torching the homes.
"I find that it's a powder keg, and/or could be," said Begley.
They get regular check-ins from the state fire service.
"I had to be the one to tell someone they lost their house, so I try to get the word out as much as I can," said Florida Fire Service Wildfire Mitigation Specialist Melissa Yunas.
Officials advised Walden Woods to coat their straw tiki hut in an anti-fire lacquer, keep people aware with signs and equipment, and to make escape plans.
The Florida Fire Service works with at least six-dozen communities in our six-county area.
"This is one of my shining jewels," said Yunas. "It has nothing to do with me. It's because the community really did listen and take action themselves."
The only thing the folks at Walden Woods are wary of is going too far in their trimming and brush clearing.
"It's called Walden Woods, so we definitely don't want it paved!" said Begley.
The Florida Fire Service says that if your community even suspects it might be in danger of a wildfire, you can certainly give them a call and ask them to come out to look at your property and give advice on how to stay safe.