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Statewide Red Flag Fire Alert effective immediately, outdoor burning discouraged because of weather

Columbia, SC - The South Carolina Forestry Commission is issuing a statewide Red Flag Fire Alert, effective immediately.

Weather forecasts for most of the state this weekend include stronger-than-normal wind gusts and low relative humidity, all of which combine with dry fuels on the ground to create the potential for outdoor fires escaping easily and spreading rapidly.

"These conditions present favorable conditions for wildfire ignitions, particularly the low relative humidity values, which will remain low over the weekend," said SCFC Fire Chief Darryl Jones. "With the otherwise nice weather this weekend, we just want people who may be working in their yards or enjoying the outdoors to be aware of the elevated potential for fire danger."

The purpose of the alert is twofold: in addition to discouraging people from doing any outdoor burning, it also helps to reduce the strain on local fire departments and other first responders who need to remain available for COVID-19 response. The alert will remain in effect until lifted by the Commission, whose fire response teams will continuously monitor the situation throughout the weekend.

A Red Flag Fire Alert does not prohibit outdoor burning, provided that all other state and local regulations are followed, but the Forestry Commission strongly encourages citizens to voluntarily postpone any such burning until the alert is lifted. However, a Red Flag Fire Alert does trigger certain county or local ordinances that restrict outdoor fires, so residents should contact their local fire departments to check whether such restrictions apply in their areas.

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