NEW BERN, CRAVEN COUNTY - The goal of a new program in Craven County is to alert people if they live in an area prone to wildfires. Firefighters plan to use a special map to educate homeowners about the risks they face.
New Bern Fire Marshal Danny Hill said most New Bern homeowners don't realize they are living in a potential danger zone.
"Over the years we have built houses in the woods which have created an increase fire hazard," he explained.
Hill said the fire department and the North Carolina Forestry Service came together to make a map which helps identify "wildland- urban interface areas in New Bern."
The map is something the fire department along with the North Carolina Forestry Serve has been working on for two years.
Hill said with the map they plan to inform all firefighters of the high-risk areas, and show the public the need for buffer zones between their home and the woodlands.
The areas that are most at risk in New Bern are homes in Carolina Colours, Greenbrier and Pleasant Hills.
"One of them borders up against the Croatan National Forest. The other two areas border up against areas that are undeveloped," Hill explained.
Richard Hardison Junior said he has lived in Carolina Colours for many years, and had no idea his home could be at risk.
"This place is mostly woods, thousands of acres in this area. I think it's a great idea, especially appropriate this time of the year," he said.
Hill said there are certain things homeowners in these high risk areas can do.
"Keep more of a fire friendly type of vegetation that doesn't encourage fire spread as rapidly," he said.
Also, keep the canopies of tall trees cut at least 10 feet from the ground, and keep at least 30 feet of ground around your home free of pine straw.