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Laurel Ridge

Laurel Ridge is a 305-acre private community located along the eastern side of Brush Mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountain Range just outside the town of Blacksburg, Virginia. We are in Montgomery County in the southwestern part of the state, 35 miles southwest of Roanoke. Our community is very heavily wooded with deciduous and coniferous trees and our native mountain laurel and rhododendron shrubs. Laurel Ridge is abundant with wildlife including, deer, turkey, fox, black bear, and numerous small creatures like squirrels and birds. We are bordered by the Jefferson National Forest to the west and the town of Blacksburg to the east.

The first of our 74 homes was constructed in 1973 and only a few undeveloped lots remain. Our roads throughout the community are narrow with only one main road in and out. This main road has numerous switchbacks and a 500-foot elevation change as it travels one mile up the mountain. Many of our homes are rustic and wood sided.

We began our journey to Firewise Communities/USA recognition in 2005/06 when approximately 25% of our homeowners participated in a grant-backed fuel reduction program offered through the Commonwealth of Virginia. We began serious pursuit of Firewise Community status with the formation of our Firewise Committee in January of 2008. Our committee requested and received approval of a Firewise projects budget through our homeowners' association. With the backing of our Board of Directors, we planned and implemented our first official Firewise Day in June 2008. It was a great success, with the majority of the community participating by clearing brush and downed limbs from their private lots, concentrating on the 30-foot zone around their homes. The brush was hauled to the curb, chipped, and removed. In addition, we had both community volunteers and a paid crew working to clear a common area and create an improved firebreak within the community.

Working with our local fire, law enforcement, emergency management, and Forest Service representatives, our Firewise Committee created a wildfire protection plan that included a community evacuation plan. With the support of our Board of Directors and accompanying budgeted funding, we will continue implementing annual Firewise projects.