Burton Fire District warns of risks beyond the flames

2 mins read

As part of its Community Risk Reduction and increased medical outreach programs, Burton fire officials are warning local residents about the outdoor burning of trash, and the risk it poses to the community beyond fire spread.

The improper outdoor burning of yard debris has caused numerous fire issues for Burton firefighters. Improperly placed and unattended burning has led to damages of property; including homes, buildings, and vehicles. While these fire hazards continue, there are other public hazards occurring that Burton fire officials are warning residents about, and that involves the burning of trash.

Beaufort County ordinance 2011/31, which outlines the proper legal guidelines for conducting outdoor burning of yard debris, states only vegetation originating on the premises can be burned. The burning of trash is prohibited.

Beyond fire safety issues, any type of burning can cause health issues, which is significantly increased when burning trash. When trash burns, the heat and flames cause the trash to break down into a gaseous chemical state, which when breathed in, allows those chemicals to enter the lungs and cardiovascular system. Many items found in trash are created from elements, that when burned, can release carcinogens into the air which can then be breathed in. This can cause both short and long term damage and illness to the lungs and body.

On Saturday, July 20, Burton firefighters responded to a reported brush fire and arrived on scene to find the remnants of a mobile home, stacked in piles, being burned, with smoke permeating the neighborhood. 

It took firefighters more than 1,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire, which included such items as PVC piping, electrical wires, and insulation.

Burning any form of trash is not only a violation of county ordinance, but can also lead to a Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) investigation and fine. 

DHEC was notified of Saturday’s illegal burn.

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