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Officials: Smoke may impact portions of Berkeley Co. following wildfire

Source: AP Source: AP
BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -

Authorities say smoke may impact portions of Berkeley County following a fire at the Francis Marion National Forest on Thursday. 

According to the U.S. Forest Service, heavy smoke is anticipated to impact low-lying areas from Huger to Bethera as a result of a wildfire. 

The public is being advised to use low beams and drive slowly on roadways impacted by smoke. 

A report states the Francis Marion National Forest fire managers responded and contained an 80 acre human-caused (under investigation) wildfire that started at 12:20 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

The fire was contained around 5:30 p.m. in Berkeley County along Highways 402 and 41.  

"Electronic signs have been posted warning the public of smoke in the area," U.S. Forest Service officials said."The public is encouraged to use low beams and to drive cautiously when dense smoke is present."

Officials released the following information:  

The Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests (FMS) burns on average 55,000-60,000 acres per year to reduce hazardous fuel buildup (grasses and shrubs) reducing the threat of wildfires and its impacts to surrounding communities. Additionally, the use of prescribed fire is beneficial to the fire-adapted ecosystem within South Carolina, including many threatened and endangered species.  

Annually, over 500,000 acres of land is burned in the state of South Carolina by a variety of entities. The majority of the prescribed fires in the state occurs on privately owned lands. The South Carolina Forestry Commission maintains a website where everyone can see a map of all planned prescribed fire activities on any day. It is a great tool for residents to become aware of prescribed burn locations and where short-term smoke impacts may occur. The website can be found http://www.trees.sc.gov/scnotifs.htm.

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