S.C. Forestry Commission issues statewide Red Flag Fire Alert

akelley@thesunnews.comJanuary 24, 2014 

The S.C. Forestry Commission issued a statewide Red Flag Fire Alert to start Saturday at 7 a.m., while the National Weather Service in Wilmington N.C. issued a fire weather watch advisory.

Scott Hawkins, spokesman for the commission, said the alert is due weather conditions including high sustained winds and wind gusts, dry fuels and low relative humidity.

The NWS said winds will move from the southwest at 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph starting in the late morning with relative humidity around 25 percent by mid afternoon. Temperatures are expected to be around 50 on the coast and in the upper 40s inland. The NWS said fires Saturday have the potential to quickly get out of control.

“Traditionally, outdoor activities increase on weekends and lead to fire starts,” Hawkins said.

The alert doesn’t outlaw burning.

Horry County, however, issued a 24-hour burn ban Tuesday that was extended due to continuing weather conditions.

The S.C. Forestry Commission “strongly encourages” any burning be postponed because nearly half of all wildfires in the state start as escaped debris burns.

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_akelley.

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