South Carolina Forestry Commission
News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 2003

FORESTRY COMMISSION DISPUTES BERKELEY NEWS ARTICLE

(COLUMBIA, SC) - An article in Tuesday’s Berkeley Independent has raised the ire of Forestry Commission authorities. The article, dealing with the agency’s budget situation, suggests the Commission is cutting back on firefighting services in Berkeley County.

The article says the Forestry Commission is "telling local fire departments they will have to control brush fires on state and private property."

"Nothing could be further from the truth," said Deputy State Forester Bill Boykin. "We haven’t cut a single firefighter or a single bulldozer in Berkeley County." Boykin said firefighter staffing in the county is at the same level as it was before budget cuts began two years ago.

The article goes on to say that local fire departments will need a fee increase to "stretch their services into areas formerly covered by the forestry commission."

According to Boykin, the Forestry Commission has absolutely no plans to reduce the number of forest firefighters or the level of forest fire protection in Berkeley County.

Forestry Commission representatives are contacting county leaders to allay fears fueled by the Independent article.

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


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