COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – The South Carolina Forestry Commission officials said in a news release on Monday that they will declare a State Forester’s Burning Ban for all counties starting Tuesday, April 7 at 6 a.m.
According to the release, the burning ban prohibits outdoor burning anywhere outside of city or town limits in South Carolina, including:
- Yard debris burns
- Forestry, wildlife or agricultural burns (also known as prescribed or controlled burns)
- Campfires and other types of recreational open burning
State Forester Scott Phillips ordered the statewide burning ban “in the interest of public safety amid the current public health threat posed by the COVID-19 virus.”
“For infected individuals, breathing smoke could make coronavirus symptoms worse, increasing the risk of hospitalization or death,” Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC physician consultant, said. “It could also cause people who have not contacted the coronavirus, but who are presenting COVID-19-like symptoms, to seek medical care at a time when medical resources are already stretched thin.”
“With known coronavirus infections increasing in all 46 counties of the state, we simply cannot continue to allow legal burning under these unprecedented circumstances,” Phillips said. “Reducing outdoor burning will also minimize the strain on local fire departments and other first responders who need to remain available for other COVID-19 response activities.”
According to the release, the band will stay in effect until further notice, and the officials lifting of the ban will come from the Forestry Commission.
“We know how beneficial the practice is for agricultural and forest management, and it is, along with our ongoing fire prevention and education efforts, the best tool we have to reduce both the number and severity of wildfires,” SCFC Fire Chief Darryl Jones said. “But extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and the decision to enact this ban really had to be made in the current context.”