S.C. Forestry Commission issues statewide wildfire warning

bheffernan@islandpacket.comMarch 16, 2013 

This weekend's dry, warm and windy weather is stoking South Carolina's risk for wildfires, state officials said.

The South Carolina Forestry Commission issued a statewide Red Flag Fire Weather Alert that began Saturday. The commission also emailed its employees to prepare for the possibility of extra firefighting duties.

By 5 p.m. Saturday, the commission reported 58 fires of all types across the state.

The National Weather Service forecast called for wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour, humidity below 30 percent and temperatures reaching the upper 70s in much of the state Saturday.

Today, Beaufort County can expect bright sunshine, highs in the mid 70s and winds up to 13 miles per hour, according to the weather service.

The alert, which remains in effect until further notice from the commission, strongly encourages residents to postpone burning debris, but does not outlaw it.

On Hilton Head, permits for burning yard debris or for recreational fires will not be issued until the alert is lifted, according to Joheida Fister of the Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division. Residents can call 314-4714 to check when permits will again be available.

Burning yard debris is not allowed within Beaufort city limits.

Attempts Saturday to reach the Lady's Island-St. Helena Fire District were unsuccessful.

Follow reporter Brian Heffernan at twitter.com/IPBG_Brian

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Related content:

Hilton Head Fire & Rescue Division to increase enforcement of burning regulations, March 6, 2013

Hilton Head fire chief calls for ban on open burning, Jan. 31, 2013

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