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Placid Lakes

Placid LakesPlacid Lakes located in Highlands County in south central Florida comprised of 1,583 houses within its 18.3 square mile area. 3,054 residents call the community home. Bordered on the south side by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission lands, its vegetation is primarily of the palmetto-gallberry type. It averages six feet in height, but reaches eight to ten feet in some areas. Historical wildfire occurrence is above average.

Placid LakesPlacid Lakes became interested in becoming a Firewise Community in 2003. At that time, residents were contacted by The Nature Conservancy to participate in a pilot wildland/urban interface community grant project. The homeowners association formed a Firewise Board to investigate the process and make recommendations to the association. The interest of the Firewise Committee peaked while attending a weekend Firewise Communities retreat hosted at the Florida Center for Wildfire and Forest Resources Management Training in Brooksville by the Florida Division of Forestry. The group listened, learned and left with the conviction of the need for Placid Lakes to become a Firewise Community. They believed that the elements of defensible space were especially appropriate for their setting. Upon their return, they began the work of educating their community members and mapping the strategy for their Firewise Day. The committee planned a half day fair, lunch and workshop where community residents could become better informed about changes they needed to make around their homes. The committee recommended the adoption of an ordinance requiring vegetation to be trimmed and watered in accordance with Firewise recommendations. They approached county officials to become a local fire district giving them responsibility for their own fire protection.

Placid LakesDespite being the target for three of the four hurricanes that hit Florida during 2004, the Board was able to host its Firewise Day, a day of community education, on October 2nd, 2004.

The Homeowners Association of Placid Lakes has made Firewise Communities a priority project. They plan to (1) continue educating residents about the need for defensible space and (2) encourage continued prescribed burning in adjacent lands. They are educating the residents about the need for prescribed fire as a fuel management tool and in order to encourage continued local acceptance.

Information will continue to be presented in the association's newsletter, and literature about Firewise principles and Firewise landscaping will be readily available in the community building. The community has made progress with its fire suppression capabilities by changing to a special fire taxing district. This will allow them to better tailor suppression equipment and personnel to their needs.

See more information about Placid Lakes.