Horry County officials ask residents to halt outdoor burning

troot@thesunnews.comJanuary 23, 2014 

Horry County authorities are asking residents to refrain from any outdoor burning this week because of low humidity and windy conditions.

“Although we have had plenty of rain and the ground is saturated, the top fuels like grass and light brush were quickly dried out by all the recent winds,” said Brian VanAernem, a battalion chief with Horry County Fire Rescue. “These fuels are very quick to burn and just a slight breeze can cause a small debris fire to quickly get out of control.”

Outdoor burning conditions are not ideal throughout the state with recent weather conditions, said Scott Hawkins, a spokesman with S.C. Forestry Commission.

“We’re hoping all outdoor burning will be postponed,” Hawkins said. “Vegetation is dormant and with the humidity counts low and high winds it can be dangerous.”

For those who are conducting outdoor burning, they should follow the state Forestry Commission’s regulations regarding open burning. Those rules can be viewed at www.state.sc.us/forest/fire.htm.

Anyone who decides to burn must understand that they are responsible for their fire, VanAernem said.

“Often we respond to a fire that was set the day before and the owner says that it was out,” VanAernem said. “Hot ash will smolder for several hours even a day or so and all it takes is a slight wind gust to blow the ash out causing a fire. So please make sure all fires are put completely out with water.”

Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.

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