MYRTLE BEACH — The S.C. Forestry Commission issued a Red Flag Fire Weather Alert starting at midnight Saturday morning, said agency spokesman Scott Hawkins.
The alert came hours after the National Weather Service in Wilmington, N.C. had issued a Fire Weather Watch because of low humidity, high winds and relatively high temperatures. The Red Flag alert does not expire and instead will be canceled by the commission when the danger decreases.
Hawkins said the alert does not outlaw burning, though some municipalities may not allow burning under red flag conditions.
Instead, the advisory “strongly encourages” the postponement of burning. Hawkins said nearly half of all wildfires in South Carolina begin as escaped debris burns.
The conditions sparking the potential dangerous conditions will peak between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, when relative humidity will drop to 40 percent on the coast with temperatures climbing into the low 70s, according to the NWS.
Gusty winds, reaching up to 35 mph, are expected.
The dry ground fuels combined with the low humidity and gusty winds will create a situation where fires could quickly get out of control, the NWS said.
At 3 p.m. Saturday, 47 forestry units had responded to 36 fires across the state with 23 still burning. None of the fires were in Horry County.
Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.