South Carolina Forestry Commission
News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 9, 2009

WEEKEND WILDFIRES TAKE THEIR TOLL IN SOUTH CAROLINA

(Columbia,SC)–-While news media focus on the wildfires in Australia, fire made for a busy weekend for the South Carolina Forestry Commission too.  From Friday to Sunday the agency’s personnel responded to a total of 126 fires.  The results were 500 acres of burned forestland statewide, an arson arrest of a man in Sumter, and charges against a Hopkins woman whose illegal trash burn wiped out four vacant mobile homes:

Damage estimates from all fires statewide reach $100,000.00 this past weekend alone.  This figure represents the loss of property itself and does not reflect the losses of timber value.  As South Carolina heads into its fire season (late winter and early spring), the agency hopes cases like these will reinforce the message:  Think Before You Burn.  Fifty-nine percent of the wildfires this weekend began as debris burns which got out of control.  A total of six mobile homes were lost.

These fires, whether accidental, criminal, or both, threaten the number one manufacturing industry in South Carolina—forestry.  South Carolina’s forestland, both public and private, is sustained and managed to produce revenue.  When our state’s forests are burned, it impacts our economic well being.  Woods arson in particular is a felony.  The South Carolina Forestry Commission is dedicated to wildfire suppression.  Arson and escaped debris fires will be prosecuted in South Carolina.

 

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Editors, News Directors:  For more information, call Scott Hawkins at (803) 896-8820.

 

ALL SUBJECTS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED INNOCENT UNLESS PROVEN OTHERWISE IN A COURT OF LAW.

 The SC Forestry Commission’s mission is to protect and develop South Carolina’s forest resource.  For every $1.00 invested by SC in the Commission, the industry produces more than $1,000.00 of economic impact.

 

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