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Sevier County Community Nationally Recognized for Wildfire Preparedness

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 | 04:02pm

NASHVILLE – The Chalet Village community of Gatlinburg, Tenn. has earned Firewise USA recognition based on their efforts to reduce the vulnerability of homes and landscapes to wildfire. This community joins 20 others in Tennessee to earn this recognition since the program started in 2002.

In celebration, Chalet Village will host a recognition ceremony on April 28 at 10 a.m. EDT at the Chalet Village North Clubhouse, located at 1319 S. Baden Drive in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry will present the community with a commemorative plaque and Firewise USA street signs. Community leaders, homeowners, representatives from the Gatlinburg Fire Department and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Division of Forestry officials will attend.

“Chalet Village was hit especially hard by the Chimney Tops 2 fire in 2016,” State Forester Jere Jeter said. “By taking it upon themselves to earn Firewise USA recognition, they are providing a framework to develop a more prepared community by organizing to work collaboratively to reduce a shared risk.”  

The National Fire Protection Association sponsors the free and voluntary Firewise USA recognition program. This designation enables communities to apply for grants from the Division of Forestry to implement projects specified in their Community Wildfire Protection Plans.

The Chalet Village Community earned this recognition by working with the Gatlinburg Fire Department, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Division of Forestry to conduct wildfire hazard assessments and develop protection plans to address safety concerns. Residents then worked together to implement the plans to reduce fire risk.

“The 2016 fires in Sevier County were devastating, but we have seen first-hand how resilient the residents there are by looking forward and preparing their homes and communities for the next time a wildfire strikes,” Assistant District Forester Nathan Waters said. “We welcome the opportunity to work with others in the same way.”

For more information about the Firewise USA program, please contact Nathan Waters at 865-776-2111 and visit www.BurnSafeTN.org.