Dry Weather Has Sc Firefighters Worried About Outdoor Fires

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Firefighters are urging people in South Carolina to be extra careful if they burn yard debris or set other fires over the weekend.

The state Forestry Commission did not issue any red flag alerts as of Friday because winds aren't expected to be high or humidity unusually low.

But warmer than normal late fall temperatures and an unusually dry October and November across South Carolina has increased the danger of wildfires, the agency said. The coastal regions of Georgia and North Carolina also show above normal wildfire potential, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Most places across South Carolina received barely an inch of rain in November. Columbia's airport officially reported just 0.28 inches (7 millimeters) of rain for the month.

Nearly three-quarters of the state is reporting some drought conditions, while areas around Florence and Rock Hill have fallen into a severe drought, according to maps from the U.S. Drought Monitor

State law requires anyone living outside of unincorporated areas of the state to notify the Forestry Commission before burning outside on its automated phone line.

“Just because this weekend is unseasonably warm – even spring-like in terms of temperature – there’s no reason for people to be any less cautious with fire. As always, we want people who plan to burn to be prepared, respect the weather and never leave a fire unattended for any reason or for any amount of time," South Carolina Forestry Commission Fire Chief Darryl Jones said in a statement.