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      Fire officials issue alerts, bans during dangerous conditions

      Photo Credit: WPDE

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Forestry officials are urging residents around the state not to conduct any outdoor burns. State Forester Gene Kodama issued the warning in an effort to reduce any new fires statewide.

      The entire state is under a Red Flag Fire Alert, cautioning that wildfire danger is increasing and that outdoor burning could become difficult to control.

      "Our resources are stretched. These fires get into the woods, they are there to stay. They burn for a long time," said Scott Hawkins, spokesperson for the South Carolina Forestry Commission.

      The Red Flag Fire Alert doesn't ban people from outdoor burning, but officials strongly advise against it.

      In addition a burning ban is issued for the Pee Dee. The ban prohibits all outdoor burning in unincorporated areas of the following counties: Chesterfield, Clarendon, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Kershaw, Lancaster, Lee, Marlboro, Marion, Sumter and Williamsburg.

      While the rest of the Midlands remains under an alert, the Lexington County Fire Chief issued a burning ban late Wednesday morning.

      The Lexington County Fire Chief has issued a ban on general debris burning for the unincorporated areas of Lexington County until further notice," says Chad Wessinger. "This ban includes all outdoor burning with the exception of fires related to forestry, wildlife and agriculture burns and fires for cooking of food for immediate consumption.

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      Violation of the Ban carries a fine of up to $100.

      For more information, fire statistics, and real-time fire activity maps, visit