Townsend community earns Firewise recognition

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TOWNSEND, Tenn. (WATE)- Saturday, a small community in East Tennessee got a big honor. The Fawn Hollow area of Townsend earned its Firewise recognition.

A Firewise plaque and street signs were presented to some of the people leading the charge to better protect them and their homes from wildfire.

“We tell people check your roof, check your windows, your screens, your surrounding vegetation, your landscaping,” said Nathan Waters, with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

Fawn Hollow becomes the 27th firewise community statewide. That paves the way for them to apply for grants to help put their fire mitigation plan into action.

For the Firewise committee chair, removing dangerous trees would be money well spent.

“Our community has very narrow roads and has a lot of trees, very dangerous trees and we get high winds being up on the mountains where it’s not uncommon for them to fall and knock down power lines, create fires but also concerning that could block our escape paths,” said Michael Dew, Fawn Hollow Chair for the Firewise committee.

This push is an important one to Blount County’s mayor. A big reason behind it: the devastating effects of 2016 wildfires in Blount and Sevier counties.

“It’s going to save lives, save property, reduce the threat of fires, and that’s what its all about,” Mayor Ed Mitchell said.

And it’s clear, for this small Fawn Hollow community, the recognition makes a big impact.

“We can cut down the loss of structure, we can cut down on putting firefighters and first responders in danger, so it’s a big deal, having communities recognize their role in protecting their structures is huge,” said Chief of the Townsend Area Volunteer Fire Department, Don Stallions.

The mayor also said Blount County now has more Firewise-certified communities than any other county in the state.

You can find out more about the program at www.burnsafetn.org.

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