INVESTIGATION: Prescribed burn sparks second fire in Francis Marion National Forest

The Investigators

The Forest Service halted a prescribed burning this week following a fire that jumped from its intended location.

Count on 2 investigator Rebecca Collett got a tip that a controlled burn on Monday sparked a second fire which led to hundreds of extra acres of forest burning.

According to Forest Fire Management Officer, Paul Varnedoe, the fire jumped from its intended location because of a shift in winds. 

Crews spotted the flare-up on an adjacent plot of land while patrolling the area after a controlled burn Monday.

The initial flare-up was on 20 acres, but because conditions were too dangerous for firefighters or equipment, the Forest Service had to attack the fire from the perimeter.

Think of it like fighting fire with fire. By igniting the perimeter of the plot of land, the Forest Service was able to contain the fire. But that means they burned an extra 615 acres of land in the process.

That initial fire on Monday needed two extra approvals because of wind, temperature, and humidity concerns.

At this point, the burning operation in the Francis Marion is halted

While Varnedoe called the incident “unfortunate” he says the agency has contingency plans in place to handle issues like this.

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