SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – As the weather gets warmer, residents in Georgia and South Carolina are urged to avoid outdoor burning.
The National Weather Service issued a fire danger statement for several local counties Friday due to weather conditions. Forecasters say the combination of low humidity and gusty winds could increase the risk for fire.
The weather alert remains in effect until 8 p.m. and extends from Chatham County as far west as Tattnall County. In the Lowcountry, Beaufort, Hampton and Jasper counties are included.
Meanwhile, the South Carolina Forestry Commission issued a Red Flag Fire Alert Friday, doubling down on discouraging people from burning outdoors.
This is the second alert issued for the Palmetto State in as many weeks.
“With the dry weather we have experienced lately, and predicted relative humidity values in some areas lower than 25% and winds gusting above 15 miles per hour, we strongly encourage everyone to postpone their outdoor burning until conditions improve early next week,” said the commission’s fire chief, Darryl Jones.
Restrictions vary by county when an alert is issued. In Beaufort County, the alert prohibits residents from burning outdoors in unincorporated areas.
In general, the alert doesn’t ban outdoor burning altogether. But South Carolina residents are strongly encouraged to postpone any burning until the alert is lifted and check with their local fire departments on county restrictions.
“We have not gotten much significant rainfall in the last few weeks, and fuels are very dry, so any outdoor fire could escape easily,” Jones warned.
In Georgia, a statewide burn ban goes into effect on Saturday, May 1, until Sept. 1. The ban applies to 54 counties in the Peach State, mostly up north.
There are no local counties included in the ban but residents are required to secure a burn permit from the Georgia Forestry Commission before conducting any outside burning. Campfires and barbecues are exempt.
Officials say the ban in Georgia will not only improve air quality but prevent the risk of wildfire.
“Georgia’s 25 million acres of forestland serve a giant air purifier,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Director Tim Lowrimore. “We can help them do their work by recognizing the burn ban and enjoying the many benefits Georgia’s trees and other natural resources give us in summer and all year long.”