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BriargateBriargate is a planned subdivision of Hunter's Ridge, a community of 2,280 homes in the western suburbs of Ormond Beach, Florida. During the 1998 wildfire season, thousands of acres surrounding Hunter's Ridge burned during three separate wildfires. The area was evacuated for over three and one-half days. This experience instigated action on the part of the Ormond Beach Fire Department and the Briargate subdivision as part of their strategy to reduce wildfire risk in local wildland/urban interface areas.

Briargate covers approximately 60 acres, and will eventually contain 89 homes. Home sites will be nestled among three 'green islands' of hardwood swamp and/or natural or engineered water retention areas.

Briargate's developers worked with local fire officials to benefit all concerned parties---the fire community, the people who would eventually live there, and themselves. Tradeoffs were negotiated in three areas:

  • A million-gallon water tank. Using raw well water in Briargate for watering lawns, it is also maintained as a water source for firefighting
  • Three lakes. When the lakes were excavated, some of the soil and the configuration of lake placement were used to provide fire breaks in the community complex
  • Common area thinning. Pine forests in the common areas of Hunter's Ridge have been thinned to 100 trees per acre

BriargateThe Firewise Communities/USA concept was extremely well received in Ormond Beach and a Firewise Day was held at the Lowes Home Improvement Shopping Center on May 18, 2002. Over 500 people attended the event, which featured Firewise landscaping and construction information, games for children, Smokey Bear, a fire equipment display and various other exhibits and handouts.

The Briargate area has enjoyed strong support from the Ormond Beach Fire Department, the Florida Division of Florida and the Florida Department of Emergency Management.