Reducing the risk of wildfires in Georgetown County

By Peter Hull

Front loader removing debrisWildfires that devastated parts of Horry County showed how natural habitats can fuel the flames.

Researchers at the Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science have helped prevent a similar disaster in parts of Georgetown County.

The institute conducted a fuel mitigation project to remove natural material that could help a wildfire burn in a forested area adjacent to the DeBordieu Colony neighborhood.

The “fuel” – under-story and mid-story of the forest, such as pine straw and branches that had fallen to the ground – was removed in three areas of the forest that border the residential development.

All told, 25 acres were cleared. Although the available fuel was not completely eliminated, the ability for combustion was drastically reduced, said Jeffery Vernon, research associate and GIS specialist at the Baruch Institute.

“Whatever fuels that were on the ground – anything that could ignite and create a wildfire – were removed,” Vernon said.

 

For information: Jeffery Vernon, 843-546-1013 ext. 247, jvernon@clemson.edu or www.clemson.edu/baruch/.