Resource item

SC Forestry Commission Issues Red Flag Fire Alert

STAFF REPORT

The South Carolina Forestry Commission is issuing a statewide red flag fire alert, beginning at 6 a.m. Monday, March 7, according to a commission press release. The alert is issued to discourage people from burning outdoors when weather conditions present a high risk of wildfire.
In addition to weather forecasts for most states calling for above-normal winds and gusts in the coming days, the commission responded to a dramatic increase in wildfires over the past 72 hours, the statement said. Sunday.
The agency recorded 106 wildfires that scorched more than 1,500 acres between Thursday and Saturday, adding to a busy season that has already seen more wildfires in the first three months of 2022 than the entire previous financial year (July 2020-June 2021).
“One of our main concerns, in addition to the high fire danger itself, is that fire activity may exceed our ability to respond. These conditions could create a scenario where we have more fires than we don’t have the resources,” SCFC Fire Chief Darryl Jones said in the statement. really pushing the fire danger to its limit, and we’re seeing that now.”
High and gusty winds, combined with very dry fuels on the ground, are also causing reignitions of previously contained fires. While March is historically one of the busiest months for the Forestry Commission, firefighters on the ground report that this week’s string of more frequent and larger than average fires are taking longer – and more resources firefighting – to contain and ultimately control.



A red flag fire alert does not prohibit open burning, provided all other state and local regulations are followed, but the Forestry Commission uses the alert to strongly encourage citizens to voluntarily postpone any burning until the alert is lifted. Although a red flag fire alarm does not prohibit outdoor burning, it does trigger certain county or local ordinances that restrict outdoor fires, so residents should contact their fire departments. local firefighters to check if such restrictions apply in their area. SCFC officials expect to lift the alert later in the week as weather conditions improve.