Law enforcement is an important part of forest fire prevention. The Forestry Commission assumes the primary responsibility for statewide forest fire law enforcement.
Forestry Commission officers may issue citations (tickets) for misdemeanor offenses. For more serious crimes, officers obtain warrants and make physical arrests.
The basic law regulating outdoor burning is the Notifications and Precautions Law . This law outlines the basic fire safety steps that must be followed during outdoor burning. One of the requirements is that citizens notify the Forestry Commission before starting the fire.
The Forestry Commission director, the State Forester, can ban outdoor burning in periods of extreme danger. The Governor may also ban certain types of outdoor burning during critical periods. Bans are only declared when there is a significant threat to public safety.
State law says that anyone conducting outdoor burning must keep the fire under control. It is against the law to allow your fire to escape to someone else’s property.
Intentionally setting fire to someone else’s property without the owner’s permission is a felony under South Carolina law. Commonly called woods arson , this violation carries a fine of up to $5000 or imprisonment for up to five years.
Woods arson is a serious crime. Citizens may report information about woods arson to the SC Arson Hot Line, 1-800-92-ARSON. Rewards are available if information results in an arrest and conviction.