The S.C. Forestry Commission is urging caution amid a significant spike in wildfires as the state heads into the peak of its fire season.
Prolonged drought, especially in the Upstate, has increased the fire risk that already exists at this time of year, according to the Forestry Commission.
South Carolina’s fire season typically runs from January through mid-April. “April is traditionally the height of our wildfire season,” said Forestry Commission Fire Chief Darryl Jones. “But we’ve already seen a dramatic increase in both the number and size of fires around the state this year.”
There were 1,782 wildfires this fiscal year, up from 989 last year, according to the Forestry Commission. That marks an increase of 80 percent. Total acreage burned jumped from a record low of 5,446 last fiscal year to 23,821 this year.
The public should use extreme caution when burning outdoors, officials said. Anyone who wishes to do an outdoor burn is required to notify the Forestry Commission and take precautions to contain the fire.