SC had 9th most wildfires in the country in 2013

SCFC image of the 2009 Highway 31 Fire
SCFC image of the 2009 Highway 31 Fire

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina ranks 9th in the country when it comes to the number of wildfires we see. That means there's a chance your family and home could be at risk.

Firefighters say it can happen in the blink of an eye -you're watching a controlled burn, and you look away for a second. In that second, the wind can shift and the fire goes out of control.

A new report shows there were more than 1,300 wildfires in South Carolina in 2013. Our neighbors in North Carolina made the list at number two, with more than 3,500 wildfires.

Many things can cause wildfires: arson, debris burning, fireworks, lightning, camp fires, or carelessness, such as children playing with matches or throwing cigarettes onto dry grass.

If the report shows anything, it's that the Carolinas seem to be hot bed for wildfire activity.

"There's a lot of things that are variables," says Brian VanAernem, Public Information Officer for Horry County Fire Rescue. "It's the type of brush we have,the type of foliage, and how it's compacted together, how it's compressed together, the dry, hot sun, hot summer days. So there are a lot of things, plus with the coastal winds and stuff. It doesn't take long to dry stuff out here. So, it is a big tinder box."

VanAernem says since we are still in wildfire season, and it has been so dry all week with the probability for rain not until the end of the week, it's important to take precautions. Don't go burning yard debris and bring anything flammable like patio furniture cushions inside.

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