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Plantation Estates

Plantation EstatesPlantation Estates subdivision is located on Claytor Lake in Pulaski County, approximately eight miles from Radford, Virginia. The only road into the rural subdivision is narrow and winding, bordered on one side by the lake and on the other by woods and farmland. The subdivision contains approximately 33 building lots with 26 homes, some of which are occupied seasonally. Several lots are undeveloped and remain heavily wooded. Homes adjacent to the lake are often close together, and some are hidden from view by trees and shrubs. The terrain is mostly steep, with hardwoods and mixed evergreens throughout the area.

Plantation EstatesThe Plantation Estates property owners formed a homeowners association and agreed to incorporate in 1992 when they purchased both the road and water system from the developers. Plantation Estates Incorporated Association governs the subdivision through by-laws overseen by a five-member board of directors, elected for staggered three-year terms. Property owners are assessed annually in order to maintain the water and road system and for other expense as determined by the board. This board of directors and officers currently serve as our Firewise Committee.

Residents became interested in becoming a Firewise community in November of 2007 when members of the Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF) and the local fire department evaluated the subdivision. They were determined to be at extreme in the event of a wildfire. The area has experienced three fires in the past five years and residents had felt for some time that measures needed to be taken to minimize loss of life and property in case another one should occur. Residents were also interested in acquiring a dry hydrant at the main boat ramp to facilitate pumper trucks' being able to refill during a fire.

Plantation Estates' accomplishments during its first year included:

  • Raising awareness of wildfire through a newsletter to property owners in the subdivision
  • Suggesting measures that individuals could implement to help defuse this volatile situation
  • Mailing educational information provided by the DOF to residents on the topic of wildfire and home safety
  • Arranging for forestry representatives to deliver a Firewise Program to members of the homeowners association at the annual meeting in February, 2008. They presented information, showed a video, and answered questions about how our subdivision could minimize risk
  • Surveying all property owners by mail following the annual meeting to determine their interest in participating in a fuel-reduction project
  • Meeting with the local DOF official to obtain suggestions and guidance as the residents formulated an evacuation plan for the subdivision in the event fire blocked the road to the entrance of Plantation Estates

During the spring and summer, some homeowners elected to hire tree trimmers to remove evergreens and other large trees from around their homes and to have the debris removed as well. Logs resulting from these removal projects were donated to a local home builder and other wood was given to individuals who heat with woodstoves or fireplaces. The Firewise Board is working to expand this clearing effort and make it an on-going effort in 2009. DOF officials have been asked to meet with subdivision homeowners association in February 2009 to discuss methods of moving forward with reducing the community's wildfire risk.