BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WSAV) – A Red Flag Fire Alert has been issued for all of South Carolina due to the dry and windy conditions across the state.
Every year across the nation, firefighters and forestry officials respond to more than 300,000 brush fires. More than 6,000 of those end with homes burned and $130 million in property damage.
The latest statistic almost came from the Burton Fire District Wednesday.
A brush fire started off of Windwood Lane, starting small and eventually burning two acres of land. It came with just a hundred feet of local homes — and fire breaks dug into the ground helped stop the blaze from spreading.
It was still smoldering even as late as Thursday afternoon.
Fire officials say people can follow a few important guidelines, along with some common-sense steps to help stop the next one before it starts.
“If it starts to spread when it hits the tree line or dry timber or dry leaves, it will take off very quickly. And if the wind is driving, it will go very fast,” said Burton Fire District Capt. Daniel Byrne.
“You definitely need to make sure there is nothing around you that is combustible, that a good gust of wind or something out of control could quickly hit a structure,” he said.
Byrne recommends establishing a 3 foot safety zone around any fires to protect pets and children.
“A couple of years ago we had a child very seriously burned when he fell in the burn pile,” he recalled.
Having enough water supply on hand is key, the fire captain says.
“One bucket is not enough,” Byrne said. “Make sure you have a continual water source like a hose that will not only reach the fire but all the way around the fire as well.”
He says not to use gasoline or flammable liquids to light your fires.
“The leaves will contain the fumes from the gas,” he explained, “you drop a match, and it can be even explosive.”
The Beaufort County ordinance says you cannot burn within 50 feet of the tree line.
Of course, if you think a fire is getting out of control, Byrne says call 911 immediately for help.