COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – The South Carolina Forestry Commission issues a statewide “Red Flag Fire Alert,” effective immediately.
“Weather forecasts for most of the state this weekend include stronger-than-normal wind gusts and low relative humidity, all of which combine with dry fuels on the ground to create the potential for outdoor fires escaping easily and spreading rapidly,” SCFC says. “The purpose of the alert is twofold: in addition to discouraging people from doing any outdoor burning, it also helps to reduce the strain on local fire departments and other first responders who need to remain available for COVID-19 response.”
The alert will remain in place until lifted by SCFC.
“These conditions present favorable conditions for wildfire ignitions, particularly the low relative humidity values, which will remain low over the weekend,” says SCFC Fire Chief Darryl Jones. “With the otherwise nice weather this weekend, we just want people who may be working in their yards or enjoying the outdoors to be aware of the elevated potential for fire danger.”
“A Red Flag Fire Alert does not prohibit outdoor burning, provided that all other state and local regulations are followed, but the Forestry Commission strongly encourages citizens to voluntarily postpone any such burning until the alert is lifted,” SCFC also says. “However, a Red Flag Fire Alert does trigger certain county or local ordinances that restrict outdoor fires, so residents should contact their local fire departments to check whether such restrictions apply in their areas.”
On Friday, Horry County Government issued an outdoor burning ban for unincorporated areas of the county.
“Due to current weather conditions, Horry County Government has initiated an outdoor burning ban effective immediately for the unincorporated areas of Horry County. This ban will remain in place until further notice,” Horry Co. Govt. says in a Facebook post. “The ban has been placed due to the extreme fire danger as a result of the low relative humidity and windy conditions. Any and all outdoor burning, included permitted burns, are strictly prohibited during the ban, and those involved in any open burning would be in violation of the law.”