CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- As the drought across much of South Carolina continues, the risk of wildfires is rising.
“The entire Lowcountry is seeing drier weather. The one saving grace we did see was that coastal storm back in November,” said Storm Team 2 Meteorologist David Dickson. “We’re past the point where we usually see a whole lot of rain. We really add up in the first half of the year and especially during tropical season.”
As two blazes rage on in North Carolina, experts say that wildfires like those could be possible in the Palmetto State if neighbors are not careful.
The South Carolina Forestry Commission says that dry and dead leaves on the ground make for perfect wildfire fuel.
“In the fall things start to go dormant. Freeze comes along and kills what’s left that’s not evergreen and then they dry out [and] we get drier air,” said Darryl Jones, the Commission’s Forest Protection Chief.
In the Lowcountry, there is a higher risk of wildfires in northern Charleston County, eastern Berkeley County and Georgetown County where the drought is worse and there are more trees.
The Forestry Commission and Charleston County Emergency Management has advice on how to prevent wildfires.
- Notify the Forestry Commission before you plan to burn any leaves or brush.
- Have a fire break near your burn area or fire.
- Have water on hand to suppress the fire and stay by the fire until it is safely put out.
- Remove dead vegetation from your property.
- Don’t have an open fire on properties that are in drought areas.
- Avoid activities that will produce sparks, like shooting off fireworks, in drought areas.
Charleston County says that they are ready to assist if needed and that response plans are in place in the event of a wildfire.
One rainy day will not solve the drought problems though according to Dickson.
“We haven’t seen meaningful rainfall since early November and I don’t see signs that we’ll see meaningful rainfall well into the middle of December,” said Dickson.