As Hurricane Dorian continues its approach, the S.C. Forestry Commission announced it will issue a state forester’s burning ban for all counties, effective at 7 a.m. Wednesday.
The ban bars all outdoor burning, including yard debris burning, campfires and burning for forestry, wildlife or agricultural purposes in unincorporated areas.
“It may seem counterintuitive to call for a burning ban because of the rain that the eastern half of the state is expected to receive from this system over the next few days,” SCFC Fire Chief Darryl Jones said in a news release from the commission, “but there are other risk factors influencing this decision making process.”
The risk factors include elevated drought conditions over much of the state in addition to relative scarcity of firefighting, law enforcement and other emergency personnel resources committed to hurricane-related response before and after the hurricane arrives, the news release said.
Forecasts for the eastern half of South Carolina over the next few days call for higher-than-normal wind gusts, which combined with elevated drought conditions create the possibility for outdoor fires escaping easily and spreading quickly.
After consulting with Gov. Henry McMaster and different agencies Tuesday, State Forester Scott Phillips declared the ban to reduce possible wildfire ignitions.
The burning ban's main goal is to ease the strain on firefighters, many of whom were dispatched to the coast to help with evacuation procedures and law enforcement activities, and later, assessing the damage and cleanup.
The Forestry Commission has been performing its normal wildfire suppression operations as well as deployed its own law enforcement and incident management personnel to support the state’s coordinated emergency response, according to the release.
The ban will be in effect until further notice.