Fires hit county; weekend alert issued

  • Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nine fires in Berkeley County consumed over 100 acres of forest land on March 15 and 16.
A Moncks Corner fire late Friday evening was the opening act of a weekend of fires throughout Berkeley County caused by dry conditions, high winds and public negligence.
South Carolina’s Forestry Commission issued a “Red Flag” weather alert because of the weekend’s dry, warm and windy weather.
According to the forestry commission’s website and Forestry Commission Public Information Director Scott Hawkins, the alert was lifted on Monday morning.
A handful of brush fires torched areas of rural Berkeley County, according to the Forestry Commission’s website. About 80 acres of forest burned in Berkeley County near Fish and Lebanon roads on Saturday afternoon. Firefighters from Lebanon, Pine Ridge, Goose Creek and Whitesville fire departments spent the afternoon fighting hot spots until the fire was contained shortly after 5:30 p.m.
Elsewhere a mid-afternoon fire in Cross, the first of two fires in the area, was started by burning debris and burned five acres, according to fire officials. A second fire off Trojan Road which burned 10 acres was also blamed on errant burning debris, according to the website. 
Last Saturday, weather conditions, which included wind gusts of up to 30 mph, low relative humidity, and warmer than average temperatures contributed to an elevated fire danger level. 
According to a forestry commission release Hawkins said, “A Red Flag Fire Weather Alert does not outlaw debris burning in most unincorporated jurisdictions, but it is an advisory which strongly encourages South Carolinians to postpone burning.  Nearly half of all wildfires in our state begin as escaped debris burns.”
By Sunday, there were 36 active statewide fires including 11 in the coastal region.

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