High temps, low humidity spark burn advisory

COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - High temperatures and low humidity has prompted the South Carolina Forestry Commission to warn residents of favorable conditions for wildfire ignition this weekend.

Scott Hawkins, spokesman for the agency, said favorable conditions for wildfire ignition developed early Friday morning. Officials are asking people across the state to think twice before beginning an outdoor debris burn.

Officials said the combination of low humidity and no rainfall has created an increased amount of dry ground fuels, which increases the chance of fire escaping. Paired with the upcoming holiday weekend, officials expect the number of recreational burns will increase.

Hawkins said the SCFC is currently operating at a reduced capacity due to recent budget cuts, sparking concern among agency officials.

"Staffing levels are low and equipment replacement cycles have been lengthened," Hawkins stated. "Fire managers with the agency become concerned when weather conditions like [these] we're experiencing persist."

Anyone wishing to conduct an outdoor debris burn must take proper precautions for preventing the escape of the fire. Residents must also notify the SCFC of the burn.

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