Debris from hurricane matthew causes wildfires in georgetown

Debris from hurricane matthew causes wildfires in georgetown

30 March 2017

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USA — GEORGETOWN, SC (WBTW) – Fire rescue officials in Georgetown say debris from Hurricane Matthew is contributing to several wildfires in the area.

“What happens is when you have that build up of debris, especially on unoccupied properties, it can get in there and get underneath that pine straw and those dry leaves,” said Division Chief Fire Marshall for Midway Fire Rescue, Todd Blomdahl. “It can smolder for sometimes days and then ignite later on.”

Blomdahl said his department has responded to three or four brush fires in the past month. The dry and warm weather is combining with limbs hanging from trees that snap and fall to the ground.

“We had a fire the other day where that’s possibly what happened,” said Blomdahl. “Where the fire originated outside, unknown cause, but a day-and-a-half later they were called back because it gets underneath that thick brush and smolders away and then comes back.”

The South Carolina Forestry Commission warns more, and larger, wildfires are expected in the coming year. According to a release, the SCFC has responded to 1,782 wildfires this fiscal year, compared to 989 last year. That’s an 80% increase.

Crews are warning homeowners to start spring cleaning early to get rid of any Hurricane Matthew debris or just dead leaves and pine needles resting against your home.

“Not just the debris that came down during the storm but the storms after,” added Blomdahl. “Homeowners like myself are still trying to clean up our own properties as well.”

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