String of grass fires along interstate keeps firefighters busy Sunday and into Monday morning
Sandy Run, SC (Paul Kirby) – Fires along the side of I-26 in the Sandy Run and Gaston areas of Lexington County kept firefighters busy over the weekend. Because the weather was a bit cooler and dry Sunday, with relative humidity in some parts of the Midlands actually dipping below 35%, conditions were ripe for woods and wild-fires.
Firefighters from both Lexington and Calhoun Counties responded multiple times, even though in most all cases after their first response, the fires were under control. As motorists passed, and the naturally occurring wind from traffic whipped the embers and smoldering natural debris, small flames would begin to show again as well as smoke, and motorists would call the fire service again. The last time they responded was sometime before 5:00 a.m. Monday morning.
When cool fronts roll in and the humidity drops, it is not uncommon to have these types of fires. They can be started by any vehicle, especially ones that are pulling trailers whose tires may go flat and be unnoticed for some distance. In these cases, the rim of the tire drags the pavement sending a shower of sparks off into the dry grass along the roadside, igniting the fires. One of the most devastating fires out west over the summer was started this way. This has also happened when trucks that use steel chains to hold their load inadvertently allow one to come loose and drag as well.
Firefighters also responded to a number of illegal burns over the weekend. Specific laws concerning burning outdoors are in place in every area of Lexington County. Most cities and towns in Lexington County prohibit outdoor burning all together. If you live outside of a city or town, check this LINK for Lexington County burn laws.