COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s fire season usually ends by the beginning of July. But this year, the hot, dry early summer weather has firefighters swamped with work and forestry officials issuing a burning ban for part of the state.

The state Forestry Commission’s ban started Tuesday and covers 14 northeastern South Carolina counties mostly east of Columbia and north of Charleston.

Forestry spokesman Scott Hawkins says the ban is in place more for firefighter fatigue than particularly dangerous conditions. Over this past weekend, several blazes in Horry County sent firefighters from across the state to the coast.

The rest of the state is under a red flag fire alert, which doesn’t ban outdoor burning, but warns people that wildfire danger is increasing, and that trash fires could be harder to control.