Brushfires on the rise due to more icestorm debris

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News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, February 19, 2014

North Augusta, S.C. (WRDW) -- "Once they've dried, they will burn," said Brannon Rowland, with North Augusta Public Safety.

And they'll burn quick. Rowland's is talking piles of debris everywhere. All of what's left of last weeks ice storm.

"Although the ice storm is abnormal for us in South Carolina, the response to the fire calls are not," he said.

Today's temps reached into the 70's and winds whipping away. A perfect storm for flames and a lot of them.

In the last two days, crews responded to about half a dozen brushfires.

"You know they can be very small or very large, there's no telling," he said.

The latest one in Aiken County burned up an entire yard, all from burning debris.

"They are fairly easy to start," said Rowland.

Add wind into the equation, and he says, "Not only is the wind going to dry out your fuel load, but it's also going to help spread that fire."

That'll put your house, cars and family in danger. But you can prevent it from happening.

"The best thing for homeowners to do if they're waiting on cleanup of their yard is to make sure the placement of these limbs, keep it away from any structure," he said.

Watering down those debris piles, keeps it wet. and less likely from igniting. Rowland knows it's easier said then done.

"Very small brush that I've simply put out with a garden hose," he said.

Others took dozens of firefighters to put out.

"The fire grew very fast and burned very quickly," said Rowland.

And it all started with just one flame.