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SC Forestry Commission to issue state wide RED FLAG fire alert for outdoor burning today

Most outdoor burning in Lexington County will be banned!

Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) - The SC Forestry Commission has announced that as of noon today, the entire state of SC is going under a RED FLAG fire alert.

According to the SC Forestry Commission's website, a Red Flag Fire Alert is a wildfire danger warning issued by the commission. The RED FLAG cautions that wildfire danger is increasing, and that outdoor burning could become difficult to control.

A RED FLAG Fire Alert does not prohibit outdoor burning as long as all other state and local regulations are followed. When a RED FLAG is in effect, the Forestry Commission asks people to voluntarily postpone any outdoor burning.

While the RED FLAG itself does not prohibit burning statewide, it may trigger certain county or local ordinances that do restrict outdoor fires.

In Lexington County, most outdoor burning is prohibited when the state commission issues their RED FLAG alerts. Although there are a few exceptions in the Lexington County ordinance for things like prescribed forestry burns, general outdoor debris burning, fires that burn things such as leaves or limbs in your yard, is not allowed.

Lexington County is expected to release additional information later today after they receive the state’s official notice that the RED FLAG alert has been issued. We will publish that in its entirety as soon as it is received. You can read more about Lexington County’s Outdoor Burning Ordinance by clicking this link: http://www.lex-co.sc.gov/departments/DeptIQ/publicsafety/fireservices/Documents/07-05-174AmendedOutdoorBurningLaw.pdf. The actual ordinance word for word can be found at: http://www.lex-co.sc.gov/departments/DeptIQ/publicsafety/fireservices/Documents/Countyburnordinance2withcontctnumbrs.pdf.

While all outdoor burning may not be specifically prohibited by the laws in your area of the state, it is always a bad idea to do any outdoor burning when a RED FLAG alert is in effect. You are always held responsible for controlling your fire when burning outdoors. You could face civil and criminal penalties if your fire gets out of control.

For more information on burning in Lexington County the ordinance specifies who you should call. Those numbers are as follows:

Yard Debris (leaves, tree trimmings): Prior to general debris burning in areas outside of cities and towns in Lexington County, read Lexington County’s rules and regulations and notify the SC Forestry Commission by calling 1-800-705-8613.

Land Clearing (large clearing, mechanical clearing): Prior to burning for large clearings and mechanical clearings please contact Lexington County Fire Services at (803) 785-8141.

Forestry/Wildlife/Agriculture Burning: Prior to burning for forestry, wildlife or agricultural purposes, read Lexington County’s rules and regulations and notify the SC Forestry Commission by calling 1-800-688-3823.

General/Emergency: To report a wildfire, call 9-1-1 and the Forestry Commission at 1-800-777-FIRE (same as 1-800-777-3473).

For general questions about outdoor debris burning, please contact Lexington County Fire Services at (803) 785-8141.

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