The President’s Day holiday weekend turned out to be a busy one for firefighters over much of South Carolina, as the number of wildfires nearly doubled the number reported over the entire month of February up to that point.
South Carolina Forestry Commission spokesman Scott Hawkins says firefighters responded to 221 fires over the weekend. He says dry, windy conditions mean that the chances of wildfires escalate exponentially, especially if peoples are careless.
A red flag alert has been issued for the 14 counties in the Pee Dee region of the state.
Hawkins says the commission’s law enforcement personnel have been given the green light to aggressively enforce laws pertaining to outdoor burning, which would include issuing citations for anyone who does not notify the commission of their plans to burn outdoors, and not taking the proper precautions before actually conducting a controlled burn.
He says people need to know that these are serious violations and that wildfire threatens lives and property.
If future weather predictions are accurate, 2011 will likely be a busy one for the Commission and firefighters around the state. Hawkins says cuts in the agency’s budget have meant that resources have been stretched, so the cooperation of local firefighters is at a premium.