Red Flag Fire Alert in effect for South Carolina

The S.C. Forestry Commission issued a Red Flag Fire Alert on Friday for the entire state.

The alert is intended to warn the public that outdoor fires may escape easily and spread rapidly. Weather forecasts for most of the state over the next four days will contribute to an elevated fire danger, according to a Forestry Commission news release. These conditions include sustained high winds, strong gusts, dry fuels and very low relative humidity.

The alert will remain in effect until lifted by the commission, whose fire managers will continuously monitor the situation throughout the weekend.

“The convergence of all these particular weather patterns creates very favorable conditions for wildfires,” said Darryl Jones, Forestry Commission fire chief and forest protection director. “And with this being a long holiday weekend, with many people off work and doing things outside — including things like cookouts and debris burning — the potential for danger is even higher.”

A Red Flag Fire Alert does not prohibit outdoor burning as long as all other state and local regulations are followed, but the Forestry Commission strongly encourages residents to voluntarily postpone any such burning until the alert is lifted.

The 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.

Nearly 50 percent of wildfires in South Carolina are caused by escaped debris burns, according to the Forestry Commission.