Garden fires? Why local firefighters urge safety in your yard due to dry conditions

Local News

BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – With dry conditions across the Lowcountry, fire officials are warning about a hidden danger that could be in your yard.

Firefighters with the Whitesville Fire Department say they’ve had several incidents over the past few weeks – including one this week – of fires starting in flowerbeds.

Just a few days ago, a Cane Bay resident smelled something burning outside his home and noticed a smoldering fire in the wood chips at the corner of his yard.

Thankfully, he was able to extinguish the fire with his hose.

“What we found was what appears to be a spontaneously combusting mulch fire,” said Colt Roy with the Whitesville Fire Dept.

While we are not currently in a designated drought, conditions are dry- which means you should take extra care when it comes to mulch in your yard.

“Every couple of days, take your garden hose to spray it down, keep it wet; it’s going to dry out through the day. Also, make sure your mulch is not thick,” said Roy. “A contributing factor that’s most common is thick mulch.”

Pay attention to your lighting and make sure it does not overheat, especially around mulch.

Fire crews say there are plenty of things to think about when it comes to preventing fires in your yard. “That could be things like lightning strikes,” said Roy. “Things that were man-made: burn piles, campfires. Most common is going to be careless smoking. If you do smoke cigarettes, make sure you’re responsible when you’re done with your cigarettes.”

Roy said if you’re pulling a trailer, make sure chains are not dragging on the ground. “A trailer that’s being towed can cause an ignition that goes as far down the road as you’re going,” he said.

The district manager for the Francis Marion National Forest Ranger District said they had a fire start earlier this year from a chain being dragged.

He also said people should not leave a fire pit or a campfire in the forest without it being cold to the touch. You should also maintain space between your house and nearby woods.

“It might not be “on” drought, but when things are dry, that’s when they ignite and the fire spreads fast.”

Learn more about preventing fires at your home by clicking here.

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