South Carolina Forestry Commission
News Release

March 3, 2005


 State Forester Bob Schowalter and Governor Mark Sanford with torch

(Columbia, SC) - In a press conference March 3, Governor Mark Sanford declared March as Prescribed Fire Awareness Month. In his presentation, Governor Sanford noted that prescribed burning is “a key tool in the management of South Carolina’s woodlands, grasslands, and wildlife”.

Among the speakers was State Forester Bob Schowalter who noted the value of prescribed burning as a wildfire prevention tool. He said while any outdoor burning involves some risk, good prescribed burning always puts public safety first.

Selecting weather conditions that will allow a safe, effective fire is one of the main challenges faced by prescribed fire practitioners. Anyone burning for forestry, wildlife, or agriculture purposes must also comply with the state’s smoke management guidelines.

Basic safety requirements for outdoor burning are outlined in state law. According to law, any outdoor fire must be surrounded by a firebreak and the burner must have adequate resources available to control the fire. Before starting the fire, burners must notify the Forestry Commission, and they must stay with the fire until it is completely safe. This law only applies outside corporate town or city limits.

Forestry Commission fire managers say that prescribed burning for wildfire hazard reduction is best done in the winter months. For more information about prescribed fire, contact any office of the SC Forestry Commission.


For more information, contact: Ken Cabe, 803-896-8820.

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