Lowcountry fire crews fight several wildfires in last 24 hours

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Fire crews are sounding the alarm across the Lowcountry after fighting dozens of fires in the last 24 hours. On Friday, Georgetown County enacted a burn ban due to the dry weather conditions our area has experienced lately.

Wildfires are ravaging forest throughout the Lowcountry.

“The majority of the ones that the Forest Service has been responding to have been homeowners trying to treat their land,” Rocky Berry, the fire management officer for Francis Marion National Forest, said. “As they should, however, they’re not taking the precautions necessary to do so safely.”

Colleton County Fire Chief Barry McRoy says forest fires are common this time of year.

“It’s dry because the winter just got over,” McRoy said. “But, people start cleaning up because the weather’s gotten warmer. They have these debris fires and piles of trash and they set them on fire. Some people leave them unattended and as the wind blows, the embers fly and it sets the dry grass on fire, which of course then spreads to the woods.”

The blazes has caused significant damage.

“In Colleton County,” McRoy said. “In the last two weeks, we’ve had over a dozen buildings burned. Five mobile homes and a bunch of out buildings have been set on fire from these fires.”

Experts say the best way people can prevent wildfires is through constant education and observation.

“Doing a lot of educational research on treating your vegetation,” Berry said. “Filing for the right permits and following all the state guidelines that are already set forth to do so, and just pay attention to the weather.”

But, they realize some wildfires just can’t be stopped.

“This February,” Berry said. “We did not get the precipitation we have been used to in the past and moving through March, which is normally one of our drier months before we start getting into that wetter pattern, it’s not looking much better.”

Georgetown County’s burn ban on unincorporated areas will last until further notice.