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Statewide red flag fire alert issued

Statewide Red Flag Fire Alert issued

File: Forestry truck goes through smoke from a past controlled burn inside the Francis Marion National Forest.

The South Carolina Forestry Commission has issued a statewide Red Flag Fire Alert on Friday that is in effect until conditions improve.

The commission announced in an emailed statement that the alert is being issued to discourage people from burning outdoors when weather conditions present an elevated risk of wildfire. The weather forecast calls for stronger-than-normal winds and low relative humidity across much of the state, creating the potential for outdoor fires to escape easily and spread rapidly.

“With the dry weather we have experienced lately, and predicted relative humidity values in some areas lower than 25% and winds gusting above 15 miles per hour, we strongly encourage everyone to postpone their outdoor burning until conditions improve,” said SCFC Fire Chief Darryl Jones. “We have not gotten much significant rainfall in the last few weeks, and fuels are very dry, so any outdoor fire could escape easily.”

The commission said 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.

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