As Hurricane Ian approaches the Palmetto State, bringing with it increased wind speeds and high gusts Thursday in particular, the South Carolina Forestry Commission is cautioning residents about the increase in fire danger statewide and the need to exercise the utmost vigilance when burning outdoors.
“We have had over a week without much rain, and the straw, grass, and leaves on the ground – the fine fuels where wildfires start – are very dry. The increased risk from conducting debris burns or prescribed burns Thursday will only last until Hurricane Ian begins to saturate the state with rain Friday. That window of danger might be short, but it is also very pronounced,” said SCFC Fire Chief Darryl Jones.
“With 30-40-mph wind gusts in the forecast across much of South Carolina Thursday, the probability of such fires escaping easily and spreading rapidly is much higher than usual. If you don’t have to burn over the next few days, please consider postponing outdoor burning until conditions improve.”
Officials from the only agency responsible for wildfire suppression in all unincorporated areas of the state are reminding the public that most wildfires are largely preventable when the proper precautions are taken. In addition to notifying the Forestry Commission before conducting any outdoor burning, those precautions include creating an adequate firebreak around the area to be burned and having enough personnel, water and equipment on hand to keep the fire under control at all times.
An astounding 98 percent of all wildland fires are caused by human activities, and escaped debris burns are responsible for nearly 50 percent of them.
State law requires that citizens outside of unincorporated areas notify the Forestry Commission before burning outdoors. The notification is a quick, easy, automated process, and the toll-free numbers for each county are provided at the link below: