LAURINBURG — Fire officials are urging residents to be careful with outdoor burning following a series of wood fires this week around Scotland County.
There had been a total of six fires throughout the county, all happening around the same time. The fires were in the area of Aberdeen Road, Old Wire Road and the Marshton and Sneeds Grove, according to county 911 Director Mike Edge.
Edge said investigators have not determined a cause for the fires, but spring wildfire season is approaching.
“The wind is not helping and it is a little dry,” Edge said.
Laurinburg Fire Chief Randy Gibson said his department was called out to help with what he called “one big fire” north of Laurinburg. The fire was in a planted pine plantation.
He said other departments were actively responding to other woods fire in the county.
Gibson was not certain on the number of acres damaged by the fires. North Carolina Forest Ranger for Scotland County, Jack Franklin was not available for comment.
“We helped extinguish some of the fire, protecting, keeping it from getting to structures,” Gibson said. “The cause was still undetermined last night. It has been turned over to Scotland County Forestry.”
North Carolina Forestry rangers, joined Laurinburg and North Scotland fire fighters in fighting the blaze. There were also two tractors on site to help as well.
Gibson said the public should be aware of how to prevent ‘escape” fires.
Nine out of 10 wildfires in North Carolina are started by people, often when the burning of yard debris gets out of hand. Last year there were 3,374 wildfires that scorched 9,451 acres on state and private lands in North Carolina, with another 61 fires burning 4,907 acres on federal property.
“Reach out to media sources such as the National Weather Service and NC Forestry Service to see if there are any red flag warnings or unfavorable conditions,” he said. “If it’s been dry, heed these warnings.”
He said residents should do their research and homework before doing any outdoor burning for that day.
If you plan to burn in a very small area or a little pile of brush, do not be within 25 to 50 feet of structures. Have a garden hose or have a bucket to put water in.
“A small controlled fire can get out of hand in a matter of seconds. Also have a rake to dig a small hole or pit area. Also use that rake any vegetation that could be a source for fire. Be smart about it. Those are some of my greatest tips.”
Maria D. Grandy can be reached at 910-506-3171.