Taylor is a small rural community in northeastern Florida, bordering the Georgia state line. The surrounding area is a mix of thick woods and waterways. Taylor, like many communities in Florida, has experienced wildfires in the past including a series of fires in 2004 and the massive Bugaboo Fire in 2007.
Taylor has distinguished itself by implementing extensive measures to prepare for the next wildfire. After the fires of 2004, residents created a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). This plan called for fuel treatments such as prescribed burns, and the construction of a 30ft wide perimeter control line to encircle the town.
This control line proved invaluable in 2007 when the Bugaboo Fire approached the community. The fuel break allowed firefighters to conduct burnout operations and direct the wildfire around the town, without the loss of a single structure. A Taylor resident, who was forced to evacuate as the fire approached said “if it hadn’t been for the fire lines, we would have lost our home twice.”
The Forest Management Officer for the area was similarly impressed when asked about the effect that previous prescribed burns had on the wildfire. He relayed the story of an eyewitness that was “amazed on how the fire was running hard and when it reached our burn units the fires just started backing and in some places went out.”
Below is the list of measures that Taylor has taken to become fire adapted:
- Community Wildfire Protection Plan
- Construction of Firebreaks and Perimeter Control Lines
- Installation of Dry Hydrants
- Living on the Edge
- Firewise Community
- Community Brush Chipping Day
- Increased Training for Volunteer Firefighters
Story sources: Karen Voyles, “Taylor Residents Applaud Firefighting Efforts,” The Gainesville Sun, (June 1, 2007)
Forests and Rangelands Success Story, “Prescribed Burns Help Fight the Florida Bugaboo Fire"
Photo credit: Florida Forest Service
Photo caption: Homeowners participating in mitigation work