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Wildland-urban interface (WUI)

Although headline news stories tend to feature wildfire threatening homes in California, Idaho, Oregon and other places in the western United States, the wildland-urban interface problem they describe is not exclusively a western phenomenon. The wildland-urban interface (WUI) is a zone of transition between wilderness (unoccupied land) and land developed by human activity, an area where a built environment meets or intermingles with a natural environment. Human settlements in the WUI are at a greater risk of catastrophic wildfire.
A surprisingly large number of people in South Carolina make their homes in the WUI danger zone. Booming growth in our coastal communities and expansive urban sprawl in the state’s other metropolitan areas create more WUI land in South Carolina every year. Fire departments across the country are increasingly being called upon to respond to WUI fires, including brush, grass and forest fires; in fact, the US Fire Administration reports that 46 million residences in 70,000 communities across the United States are at risk for WUI fires.
When houses are built close to forests or other types of natural vegetation, they pose two problems related to wildfires. First, there will be more wildfires simply because of human ignitions, mistakenly or not. Second, these wildfires will pose a greater risk to lives and homes, they will be hard to fight, and letting natural fires burn is not an available option. Wildfires in developed areas are tough to control, partly due to access and other issues. As development increases, lives and property are threatened as never before.

Firewise USA™

The Forestry Commission uses the National Fire Protection Association‘s Firewise USA® Program to educate communities and homeowners in high-risk areas about ways they can take ownership of protecting their homes from potential wildfire damage or destruction.
SC Forestry Commission personnel conduct wildfire risk assessments that can be used to write action plans for communities. During workshops for communities and homeowners groups, our fire prevention teams present the scope of the issue and recommend simple steps that homeowners can take to mitigate the risk to their homes.
Please take time to read/download the helpful resources listed below, and contact SCFC Fire Prevention Coordinator Drake Carroll at or (803) 423-3722 for more information about how the Forestry Commission help you and your community become more Firewise®. And be sure to visit Firewise.org to learn more about how you can reduce the risk from wildfire for your home and your community.

Want to join the Firewise USA® Recognition Program?
Firewise USA® and other resources
Apply for SCFC Community WUI Mitigation Grants to fund your community’s fuels mitigation projects

Community Assessments and Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs)

As part of its work with communities interested in becoming Firewise, the Forestry Commission’s wildfire prevention team conducts wildfire hazard and risk assessments of communities interested in reducing their wildfire risks.  They then develop a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) from the data collected during these assessments. CWPPs set clear priorities for wildfire threat mitigation aimed at reducing wildland fuels and structure ignitability in order to better protect the community and its essential infrastructure. A CWPP will include community-centered actions that will:

  • educate the citizens about wildfire, its risks, and ways to protect life and property
  • focus on collaborative decision-making and citizen participation
  • develop and implement effective mitigation strategies

More than 1,300 communities have been assessed in South Carolina, with almost 642 rating at High to Extreme Risk to wildfire. 213 Community Wildfire Protection Plans have been completed, and of these communities about 157 have received Community Wildfire Protection Plans.

To educate the citizens about the assessment findings and to share the wildfire risk reduction recommendations described in the CWPP, workshops are held for community leaders and community residents 

If you are interested in having your community assessed with the intention of having a Community Wildfire Protection Plan developed, please contact any of our fire prevention officers listed below:

  • Drake Carroll: State Firewise Coordinator – dcarroll@scfc.gov | (843) 601-9121
  • Chris Revels: Piedmont Field Coordinator for the following counties: Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Chester, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Edgefield, Fairfield, Greenville, Greenwood, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Lee, Lexington, Marlboro, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens, Richland, Saluda, Spartanburg, Sumter, Union and York.
    crevels@scfc.gov | (803) 360-8264
  • Andy Johnson: Coastal Field Coordinator for the following counties: Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Colleton, Dillon, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Marion, Orangeburg and Williamsburg. 
    ajohnson@scfc.gov | (843) 509-4611 

Nationally recognized Firewise USA® communities in South Carolina

Catawba Indian NationYork County2018
Beacon Shores Homeowners AssociationOconee County2015
Briarcliffe AcresHorry County2010
Camden Creek at Allston PlantationGeorgetown County2013
Captain’s HarbourHorry County2020
Cedar CreekAiken County2017
DeBordieu ColonyGeorgetown County2012
Emerald PointeOconee County2017
Harbour TowneHorry County2017
Heather LakesHorry County2013
Hidden Harbor POAHorry County2015
Honey HillJasper County2008
Keowee HarboursOconee County2009
Keowee KeyOconee County2006
Long Bay ClubHorry County2012
Myrtle Trace GrandeHorry County2017
Myrtle Trace SouthHorry County2015
Oak Creek PlantationSpartanburg County2013
Pine CreekKershaw County2010
Port SantoriniOconee County2016
Prince GeorgeGeorgetown County2012
Savannah Lakes VillageMcCormick County2004
Sawgrass EastHorry County2016
The Farm at Carolina ForestHorry County2010
Walkers WoodsHorry County2010
WaterfordOconee County2010
Waterford PlantationHorry County2013
Waterford PointeOconee County2009
Waterford Ridge SubdivisionOconee County2019
Windsor GreenHorry County2014
Woodside PlantationAiken County2015
Wynward PointeOconee County2007