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The S.C. Forestry Commission has issued a Red Flag Fire Alert for all of South Carolina until further notice. The notification is aimed at reducing new fire starts in the state.
The alert, which goes into effect at 7 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, does not outlaw debris burning in most jurisdictions, but strongly advises that burning be postponed.
A Red Flag Alert cautions that wildfire danger is increasing and that outdoor burning could be difficult to keep in check. Nearly all wildfires in the Palmetto State begin as debris burns that get out of control.
Traditionally, outdoor activities increase on the weekends, which prompted the decision to declare the Red Flag Fire Alert just after 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24.
The increased alert level can be traced to current weather conditions, which include sustained winds of between 20 and 30 mph, along with wind gusts up to 40-plus mph. Dry fuels and low humidity have also contributed to the elevated fire danger.
While weather conditions may improve Sunday, Jan. 26, the situation will be continually monitored by the forestry commission in the upcoming days.
The alert will remain in place until it is lifted by the state forestry commission.
To report a forest fire in Lancaster County, call 911 or (800) 777-3473.