Summer wildfire forecast

By Stephanie Beard

WildfireAlthough western wildfires dominate the news during the summer, the climate in South Carolina creates a different fire season here. Summer wildfires can occur in the state, especially if there is a drought. However, our wildfires are most likely to occur from January through April.

Each year, the state averages about 4,000 fires that burn about 24,000 acres, according to the S.C. Forestry Commission. Summer fires (June through September) traditionally make up only about 15% of the total.

No matter where you live or what the season, the best defense against wildfires is prevention. For this reason, Clemson forestry scientists use prescribed fire to reduce combustible materials in University-managed forests at the Baruch Institute in Georgetown and the Experimental Forest on the main campus. They also conduct demonstrations for forest landowners on the use of prescribed fire and other management practices to ensure safe and healthy forests.

The S.C. Forestry Commission offers guidelines for homeowners to protect their house from wildfires at www.state.sc.us/forest/fpro.htm.