Columbia, S.C. – Prescribed burns at many South Carolina State Parks this winter and spring are helping reduce hazardous forest fuels that can cause wildfires and improve habitat conditions for wildlife and recreation. They are also a critical tool for protecting communities and homes in the surrounding area from dangerous wildfires.
The timing of these burns is right in line with Governor Henry McMaster’s proclamation designating March 2021 Prescribed Fire Awareness Month in South Carolina.
While the volume and toxicity of untamed smoke produced by wildfires is a nuisance and health concern, the smoke from prescribed fires is carefully managed to take advantage of favorable weather conditions that transport it high in the atmosphere and away from the burn site. Land management organizations and government agencies are using the awareness month to shine a light on the importance of these “good fires.” Controlled burns conducted by highly trained professionals are essential to the stewardship of our natural resources and the protection of lives and property.
Thanks to collaboration with the South Carolina Forestry Commission, The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service, burns have already been conducted this year on land in Aiken State Park, Cheraw State Park, Devils Fork State Park, Hampton Plantation State Historic Site, Keowee-Toxaway State Park, Oconee State Park, and Table Rock State Park. South Carolina State Parks still slated for controlled burns over the next few months include Barnwell State Park, Rose Hill State Historic Site, and Kings Mountain State Park, with some additional burns planned at Aiken, Cheraw, and Keowee-Toxaway.
Immediately after a prescribed burn, the area may seem unsightly for a short time. But that appearance is deceiving, as the charred material returns nutrients to the soil, enriching the ground to make way for new growth, which emerges in as little as a few days or weeks.
Fire experts schedule controlled burns based on weather conditions, making it difficult to provide early advance notice to the public. They adjust the schedule as needed to ensure the safety of local residents and crewmembers. Current burning notifications are posted on the South Carolina Forestry Commission’s website. Immediate advance notice is provided to local fire and law enforcement officials.
Burns are being planned and conducted all across South Carolina by various local, state, and federal agencies. For more information about controlled burns planned in South Carolina State Parks, read SCPRT’s January 2021 news release here. To learn more about controlled burns throughout South Carolina, visit the South Carolina Forestry Commission’s website. For general information about the partner agencies on this release, visit southcarolinaparks.com, trees.sc.gov, nature.org/SC and fs.usda.gov/scnfs.
- Sam Queen, Director of Corporate Communications, South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, 803-767-3568, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Doug Wood, Director of Communications, South Carolina Forestry Commission, 803-968-1576, email@example.com
- Cara Chancellor, Marketing Manager, The Nature Conservancy, 772-532-9178, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pam Baltimore, Public Affairs Officer, Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests, 307-399-4699, email@example.com