‘Under control’: Hidden Dunes a ‘Firewise’ neighborhood after mitigating risk of blaze


Florida Department of Forestry’s Brian Goddin shows how the Hidden Dunes neighborhood has decreased the risk of fire while maintaining the neighborhood’s natural beauty.

Molly Mosher
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012 at 10:21 AM.


It’s not an easy feat for a neighborhood to earn Firewise designation by the Florida Forest Service, and Hidden Dunes is the first neighborhood in Walton County to do it.

The 27-acre Miramar Beach neighborhood will celebrate the accomplishment with a day of festivities Oct. 11.

A Firewise designation is bestowed upon communities that “have taken steps to become more resistant to wildfire structural damage,” according to Forestry literature.

Longtime Hidden Dunes resident Bill Kern said one particularly challenging aspect of attaining the Firewise status was maintaining the natural beauty of Hidden Dunes, while mitigating the fire risk.

It was this natural beauty that drew the 20-year, part-time resident to the area in the first place after a two-year search for the perfect second home.

“It was the only place in all that search where a developer had left the natural environment in place,” said Kern of the Carolina cottages strategically placed among the palmetto bushes, pine and oak trees. “It was just beautiful, lots of walking paths. It’s really a neat place.”

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