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Cypress Knoll

Cypress KnollCypress Knoll is a golf course community of more than one thousand homes located in Flagler County, Florida. Situated in the southern section of the City of Palm Coast, it lies north of Daytona Beach and south of St. Augustine. Prior to the development of Palm Coast as a residential area, the area was a pine tree farm.

Twelve years ago, the Cypress Knoll community was sparsely populated. All of the vacant lots had mature pine trees and dense underbrush with no program in place for controlling the undergrowth. In 1985 sections of Flagler County and Palm Coast experienced a wildfire. That fire affected Cypress Knoll, and homes in adjacent areas. Hundreds of acres of pine forest were destroyed.

During the very dry season of 1998, the fire alert for Flagler County and Palm Coast was elevated to extremely high. A few of the Cypress Knoll residents held a meeting to discuss alerting members of the community should a major fire occur. Also of concern was the issue of evacuating Cypress Knoll. Residents new they were threatened by the dense pine tree crowns and the heavy undergrowth. The community had only one exit route. Residents contacted the Flagler County Sheriff's Department and Palm Coast City officials for advice. They then shared the information they received with other Cypress Knoll residents using their neighborhood watch association.

Cypress KnollIn 1998 Flagler County, as well as neighboring areas, had a major wildfire that precipitated the evacuation of Palm Coast and other areas. Cypress Knoll was again threatened because of the dense undergrowth and tree canopy on all undeveloped lots and surrounding areas. Luckily, while many properties were burns and homes lost in Palm Coast, Cypress Knoll was once again spared.

After the wildfire Palm Coast officials, the Palm Coast Fire Department and the Florida Division of Forestry joined forces to develop a plan of action for the future. They introduced the national fire plan to the residents of Cypress Knoll with a hands-on demonstration at one of the resident's homes and the adjacent property. Because of this, a group of residents formed a Firewise committee and met with City of Palm Coast officials, the fire department and the Florida Division of Forestry to develop an action plan. This consisted of completing a wildfire hazard assessment on every undeveloped lot in Cypress Knoll and included educating community residents via its 34 community block captains. Finally, all undeveloped lots in Cypress Knoll were mowed, creating a 30-foot buffer between the ladder fuel vegetation and existing homes. With help from City of Palm Coast officials, Cypress Knoll now has an auxiliary road for emergency vehicles. In addition, residents have developed a "Welcome New Neighbor" package to be given to people moving into the community. It includes Firewise landscaping advice and other essential information. Assuming new home construction continues at the present rate, Cypress Knoll should reach 75 percent build-out much sooner than anticipated. Therefore, all community meetings continue to promote Firewise education. In addition, Firewise information is posted on the Cypress Knoll website.