SC burn ban lifted

Published 12:09 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2020

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Ban is lifted as of Tuesday, April 21

LANDRUM—South Carolina has followed suit and lifted the burning ban that was initially declared on April 7.

The South Carolina Forestry Commission lifted the ban across the state effective Tuesday, April 21 at 6 a.m.

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North Carolina and Polk County lifted its burn ban last week as well.

The South Carolina Forestry Commission said campfire/fire pit burns, residential yard debris burns and prescribed burns will now be allowed, but noted that burning storm-related debris is subject to special requirements by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control in an attempt to protect public health during the COVID-19 response.

All open burning activities must also be in compliance with DHEC open burning regulations.

Area burning bans were put into place to minimize the impact of wildfires and other unmanaged smoke on residents during the COVID-19 response when the spread of the virus was accelerating in both states.

“The proactive measures taken in our state during the critical acceleration phase of the spread of the virus has helped limit the exposure of individuals to COVID-19 and ultimately reduced the strain on first responders and the need for care in our healthcare system,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC physician. “The decision to lift the ban is based on the current data and will be re-evaluated if cases begin to increase again.”

South Carolina State Forester Scott Phillips said the state believes now is the time to allow outdoor burning to resume, but with additional precautions.

“In consultation with officials from the DHEC, whose recent COVID-19 projections indicate cautious optimism about the virus’ reduced spread and impact over the last two weeks, we believe now is the time to allow outdoor burning to resume with additional precautions,” said Phillips.

People can find a link to each county’s toll-free notification number on the SCFC home page or at Prescribed burners must make notification of their planned burns by calling (800) 777-3473. Those burning campfires or in fire pits do not need to make notification.

Forestry Commission officials continue to urge extreme vigilance in conducting outdoor burning, as escaped debris burns are the number one cause of wildfires in South Carolina. “We also really want to encourage people to be good neighbors by being mindful of their smoke and its impact on others,” said Jones. “If people could postpone burning while their piles are wet, that would be better because dry debris will burn hotter and produce less smoke.”

Following are DHEC’s requirements for burning storm-related debris generated the April 13 storm:

  • Storm debris burn piles should only contain yard debris, including leaves, limbs, tree branches, small logs, and clean wood. Chipping and grinding of yard debris is strongly encouraged.
  • Burn piles shall not contain household trash, tires, plastics, paints, roofing materials, chemicals, oils, insulation, ductwork or electrical wire. Local solid waste collection and recycling centers should be used, where available, to dispose of these items.
  • Burn piles should be at least 100 feet from the property line or other structures. Never leave your burn site and have water available to put out the fire.
  • The initial burn must be started between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.; no combustible material should be added to the fire between 3 p.m. of one day and 9 a.m. the following day.
  • To minimize smoke from the burn pile, the amount of dirt on the material should be limited, and the prevailing winds must be away from public roadways and residential areas.
  • Consult your homeowner restrictions and local or county ordinances before you burn.