S.C. Forestry Commission: Postpone outdoor burning
The South Carolina Forestry Commission has issued a statewide Red Flag Fire Alert effective until 6 p.m. today, meaning residents are strongly encouraged to postpone outdoor burning.
Today's weather conditions, which include wind gusts and low relative humidity, can contribute to an elevated fire danger level, according to the Commission. The National Weather Service has forecast a high of 50 degrees, winds of 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 to 40 mph for Aiken County, and a relative humidity of 25 percent.
Commission spokesman Hawkins said low humidity and high winds can cause a legal burn to get out of control. Between 40 and 50 percent of wildfires in South Carolina start as “escaped” debris burns.
A Red Flag Fire Alert does not outlaw debris burning in most unincorporated jurisdictions, but the alert remains in effect until lifted by the Commission.
A person can be fined if their fire gets out of control, or held liable if it damages property.
It is against state law to burn trash or construction debris.
Hawkins said residents who wish to burn are required by law to notify the commission of their intended burn. The number for Aiken County residents is 1-800-895-7057.
Anyone burning for forestry, wildlife or agriculture purposes is asked to call 1-800-777-FIRE (1-800-777-3473).
For more information, visit www.state.sc.us/forest/index.htm.
Haley Hughes is the news editor for the Aiken Standard. She joined the newspaper in 2007 and covered the Aiken County government until her promotion in 2013. Hughes, a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, hails from Knoxville, Tenn.