“Extreme Fire Danger” from Drought

An “Exceptional Drought” is creating “extreme fire danger” for South Carolina woodlands. The USDA yesterday noted the extended drought is creating extreme fire conditions for both the Sumter and Francis Marion National Forests across the state. This includes a section of the Sumter National Forest in Eastern Laurens County and northern Newberry County.

Fire Management Officer Paul Varenoe said “The Forests may still look green and lush. However, the fuel moisture in the green vegetation is very low, and it dries out quickly.” Mr. Varnedoe added, “The concern is with the dry conditions the federal, state, and private lands are in, and the leaves are getting ready to fall, creating additional fuels on the ground, causing an increase for potential wildfires.”

Most often, fires will start in the leaf-litter from an abandoned campfire or someone burning debris next to their home.  Many people do not realize that we are under these extreme fire conditions. Forest Supervisor Rick Lint said, “We hope to help get the message out to our neighbors and friends, so the Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests, in collaboration with our partner, the South Carolina Forestry Commission are using a National Fire Prevention and Education Team.” He said team members will be at multiple events, including the South Carolina State Fair and this week’s Clemson. Mr. Lint concluded, “We want people to understand what they can do to ensure the safety of their loved ones, as well as, their property during these unusually dry conditions.”