South Carolina Forestry Commission officials are issuing a Red Flag Fire Alert on Friday after more than 50 wildfires burned statewide on Thursday, including a roughly 100-acre blaze in Colleton County.
Doug Wood, a commission spokesman, said there were 54 active wildfires at the height of activity on Thursday, 10 of which were classified as a “major event.” Those are incidents in which two or more commission resources are deployed. The statewide alert will go into effect at 7 a.m. and lift when conditions improve, Wood said.
Relative humidity is expected to drop to around 20-25 percent, he said. Officials expect sustained winds of 15-20 mph with possibility of higher gusts. Those forecasts, however, could change, Wood said. “It really creates hazardous conditions,” he said. “If yesterday wasn’t an indicator, today was really evidence. … With low humidity, your fine fuels light up like matches. It’s really a double whammy.”
Although the alert serves as a warning and does not prohibit outdoor burning, the Forestry Commission encourages residents to postpone burning until it is lifted. The alert also triggers county or other local ordinances that restrict outdoor fires. Residents can contact their local fire department to see what restrictions apply.
The Colleton County blaze, located on Bazzle Road north of Cottageville, did not damage any homes, said Chief Barry McRoy, of the county’s Fire-Rescue. The agency deployed five fire engines, two water tenders and one brush truck to the fire, McRoy said.