South Carolina’s forestry commission has issued a statewide “red flag fire alert,” effective immediately, in the hopes of discouraging citizens from outdoor burning.
“We’re going to see very favorable conditions for wildfire ignitions over the next few days, particularly with the relative humidity values, which will remain low at least until the weekend,” commission fire chief Darryl Jones said in a statement (.pdf).
A red flag fire alert does not ban outdoor burning, but it “strongly encourages citizens to voluntarily postpone any such burning until the alert is lifted.”
According to the commission, “weather forecasts for most of the state over the next three days include very low relative humidity and elevated drought conditions, which combine with dry fuels on the ground to create the potential for outdoor fires escaping easily and spreading rapidly.”
In addition to warning against outdoor burns, the commission encouraged workers “on rail lines … or (using) other heavy equipment near woodlands to be especially vigilant about preventing sparks and other ignitions from the operation of such apparatus.
“Any spark, even from a discarded cigarette, in such conditions can trigger a wildfire,” the agency noted.[su_dominion_video_scb]
We wrote earlier today about the oppressive heat and creeping drought conditions currently bearing down on South Carolina, urging citizens “to stay indoors, avoid strenuous outdoor work, wear light clothing and drink plenty of water.”
“It is also vitally important to check on relatives – especially elderly relatives – and of course never leave children or pets inside a closed vehicle,” we added.
Temperatures across the Palmetto State have soared during the latter half of May, with multiple municipalities setting daily and even monthly records. The heat has lingered, too, with Charleston international airport posting 100-degree temperatures for four consecutive days.
Meanwhile, earlier this month the S.C. drought response committee upgraded the status of fifteen counties from normal to “incipient” drought status – the first of four drought levels.
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