Brush Fires Plague Burton

3 mins read

The Burton Fire District has been hit hard by brush fires this spring.

There were 16 brush fires in the district in the month of March, up from nine a year ago, a 78 percent increase. Almost half of the fires have occurred in the Gray’s Hill and Seabrook areas of Beaufort County.

Five times this month, properties have been damaged due to these fires, and several more were threatened as Burton firefighters arrived in time to stop the spreading fire. 

But Burton fire officials say if this trend continues, it’s only a matter of time before someone loses their home. 

Just before 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 29, Burton firefighters responded to what was initially reported as a house fire in Gray’s Hill. Firefighters arrived on scene to a spreading brush fire caused by unattended fire burning inside a brick fire pit. 

The fire began to spread out of the pit and into the backyard of the residence, burning through the fence, and into the wooded area behind the home. In all, about a quarter of an acre was involved, and more than 1,500 gallons of water was needed to extinguish the fire. 

The previous Saturday, Burton and MCAS Beaufort firefighters extinguished a brush fire that spread to a large shed and endangered a nearby home on Simmons Family Road. 

The fire started when the resident was burning leaves and went inside believing he had extinguished the fire. It took four fire crews more than 90 minutes and 3,500 gallons of water to extinguish the shed fire, trash fire and ensuing brush fire. 

The nearby residence was not damaged. 

The next day, firefighters were dispatched to a house fire on Capehart Circle just after 4:30 p.m. They arrived on scene to find a brush fire that had extended to a mobile home but were able to extinguish it before flames got inside. 

Damages were limited to the skirting of the mobile home. The fire was caused by an improperly discarded cigarette. 

Burton fire officials warn residents living in unincorporated areas of Beaufort County to directly monitor or fully extinguish their yard debris fires as mandated by county ordinances.

Residents in unincorporated areas of Beaufort County are also required by state law to call the S.C. Forestry Commission at 1-800-895-7062 before burning yard debris.

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