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State under Red Flag Fire Alert, no outdoor burning in Lexington County

Lexington, SC 03/26/2022 – The SC Forestry Commission has issued a statewide Red Flag Fire Alert. It took effect at 6 a.m. on Saturday, March 26.

The alert is being issued to discourage people from burning outdoors when weather conditions present an elevated risk of wildfire. Forecasts are calling for low relative humidity and higher-than-normal wind speeds, including 20+mph wind gusts, across much of the state through the weekend.

When a Red Flag Fire Alert has been issued. It prohibits outdoor burning by county ordinance in Lexington County. Anyone who burns outdoors can be fined and if their fire gets out, they can be subject to further criminal and civil penalties.

A Red Flag Fire Alert does not prohibit outdoor burning in all other parts of the state provided that all other state and local regulations are followed, but the Forestry Commission uses the alert to strongly encourage citizens to voluntarily postpone any such burning until the alert is lifted. Land managers who are considering conducting prescribed fires should take extra care if they choose to burn under a Red Flag.

“The dangerous conditions we’re going to see over the next few days make a good portion of the state vulnerable to fires that can spread rapidly and be difficult to control,” said SCFC Fire Chief Darryl Jones. “These kinds of spring weather patterns are what make this time of year the traditional peak of our wildfire season.”

Historically, wildfire occurrence in South Carolina is greater in March than in any other month. April is very active as well, having seen some of the most destructive fires in the state’s history, including the Highway 31 Fire near Myrtle Beach in 2009, which burned 19,130 acres and destroyed 76 homes. That fire, the second largest on record, was the result of an escaped debris burn.

While some of the state received rainfall earlier this week, fuels are still very dry in critical areas, due in part to a lingering drought. Additionally, the SC Drought Response Committee declared incipient drought conditions in 11 eastern/coastal counties Tuesday, March 22.

Although a Red Flag Fire Alert does not ban outdoor burning, it 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. The alert will remain in effect until lifted by the Commission, whose fire managers will continuously monitor the situation.


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