(Columbia, SC) The South Carolina Forestry Commission has issued a statewide Red Flag Fire Weather Alert effective at midnight tonight.
Saturday's weather conditions, which include wind gusts of up to 30 miles per hour in some areas, low relative humidity and warm temperatures, have contributed to an elevated fire danger level. These factors will support the ignition and spread of wildfire.
A Red Flag Fire Weather Alert does not outlaw debris burning in most unincorporated jurisdictions, but it is an advisory which strongly encourages South Carolinians to postpone burning. Nearly half of all wildfires in our state begin as escaped debris burns.
Some local ordinances do ban burning during a Forestry Commission Red Flag Alert.
The Forestry Commission issues Red Flags when weather conditions support the spread of fire, outdoor activities are expected to rise (i.e. warm weekends), and allocation of agency resources is strained.
This week, Williamsburg County suffered a nearly 400-acre wildfire which required the use of seven SCFC tractor plow fire suppression units. SCFC's capacity to respond to wildfire is sorely tested when these weather conditions persist on a statewide level.
This alert remains in effect until lifted by the South Carolina Forestry Commission.