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What you need to know about Horry County's proposed burn ban

Horry County is proposing a burn ban for areas of the county east of the Intracoastal Waterway. The new rules would outlaw open burning with a few exceptions. Firefighters with the Sumter Fire Department work to put out hot spots in 2009 in North Myrtle Beach.
Horry County is proposing a burn ban for areas of the county east of the Intracoastal Waterway. The new rules would outlaw open burning with a few exceptions. Firefighters with the Sumter Fire Department work to put out hot spots in 2009 in North Myrtle Beach. The Sun News file photo

This story has been updated to correct a previous version.

A proposed burn ban would permanently restrict open burning in parts of Horry County.

In the past, prohibitions only have been enforced when temporary burn bans come from a South Carolina Forestry Commission red flag fire alert. This ordinance could change that.

The proposed ordinance would outlaw open burning everywhere east of the Intracoastal Waterway.

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Intracoastal waterway on Saturday, July 15, 2017 at the Socastee Boat Landing. Photo by Lauren Long for The Sun News Lauren Long For The Sun News

"With the history we’ve had in the past with the wildfires in the congested areas of the county, it’s probably something that really needs to be addressed for the certain sections of the county," said county council Public Safety Committee Chair Al Allen. "But you still have to protect the right of the farmers and foresters and stuff to be able to conduct the needful burning and stuff that they need to do."

The new rules would exempt fire set by the South Carolina Forestry Commission, fires for firefighter training, fires set at the direction of public officials in the performance of their duties and enclosed fires for food or heat such as outdoor fireplaces, chimeras, grills, stoves and fire pits.

"It’s going to solve probably nuisance type of burning in congested areas within the county," Allen said .

But the proposed law doesn't provide exemptions for farmers or developers who are allowed by state law to burn vegetation originating on a build site or for agricultural purposes.

County attorney Arrigo Carotti said the ordinance could be changed to exempt farmers and developers from the new rules as well as alter the zone where the burn ban would take effect.

Allen said the ordinance would come back to the public safety committee with any revisions.

"That can be modified," Carotti said of the ordinance. "I just put it on paper."

York County has a similar ordinance, but restricts the burning in areas of dense population instead of an entire zone like Horry County's proposed ordinance, said Carotti. "If we do pass such an ordinance, we’ll be unique."

Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian

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