USA – An evacuation will be simulated in the Buck Mountain subdivision in Purlear Saturday as part of Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association.
Buck Mountain, recently designated a Firewise USA site, will also host a Firewise Fair from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday featuring a variety of displays and demonstrations focused on protecting homes from wildland fire.
The N.C. Forest Service, Wilkes County Emergency Management, the Wilkes fire marshal’s office, Champion and Millers Creek fire departments and other agencies will be represented Saturday.
In the evacuation drill, the main road into Buck Mountain will be blocked and all traffic will be directed through a new emergency road, Lazy Bear Lane, to help familiarize Buck Mountain residents with the new road. Lazy Bear Lane is accessed from Deer Run Road and connects to U.S. 421 in the western end of the development.
Fair attendees will receive evacuation maps detailing other emergency escape routes leading from Buck Mountain.
The Buck Mountain Property Owners Association worked with the N.C. Forest Service, Blue Ridge Resource, Conservation and Development Group and other entities to achieve the Firewise designation.
Buck Mountain is a gated community and is Wilkes County’s largest subdivision, encompassing about 3,000 acres, over 230 homes and over 30 miles of roads.
Firewise guidelines help protect homes and lives from wildfire. Firewise is an initiative of the National Fire Protection Association, a non-profit entity that works with partners such as the U.S. Forest Service and N.C. Forest Service to promote fire safety
Firewise steps at Buck Mountain included risk assessment, action plans, educational outreach for property owners, establishing emergency entrances/exits to the subdivison for use in emergencies, creating an electronic mapping system with information such as residents with special health needs, clearing trees for a designated “safety zone” (where a helipad is planned) and working with Wilkes County officials and the Champion and Millers Creek fire departments to plan the drill on Saturday.
Buck Mountain property owners are also learning about how to reduce wildfire risks through landscaping around homes and by using fire resistant materials when homes are built. Landscaping includes removing dead vegetation and other flammable materials, pruning trees and shrubs, choosing plants with low flammability and planting with wide spacing.
Property owner dues were increased by $1.50 per month to help fund Firewise efforts.