Brush fire destroys structures near Salley; firefighters offer tips

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014

SALLEY, S.C. (WRDW) -- It was a fire Paul Salley fought hard to put out.

"It looked like yard debris that was possibly being burned got out of control. It spread to a nearby field and then spread to some small structures next to the residence," says the Assistant Chief of Wagener Fire Department.

Around lunchtime, the blaze broke out near a home on Veterans Road outside Salley. Within just minutes, a field and two unoccupied structures were swallowed by flames.

"Our goal was to protect the structures," says Salley. "Everything else is secondary. We have to make sure everybody's residence is safe."

A residence, with a family inside, narrowly missed the inferno. Except for a little melted vinyl siding, firefighters were able to save it.

With all the wind, low humidity, and dry grass, Salley says homeowners need to be careful.

"From this time of the year right on through spring when everybody is doing controlled burns or things like that -- burning hay field or things like that," he says.

Sergeant David Griffin has been a firefighter with the North Augusta Department of Public Safety for more than 30 years. Monday marked 25 years of service for Griffin at Station 2 on West Five Notch Road. He says protecting a home starts with common sense.

"Most people have mulch around their house," he says. "Don't have too much mulch around your house. Keep your roof cleaned off."

The National Fire Protection Association has even more advice. The association says put cigarette butts in metal containers, don't create sparks by dragging chains from trailers, and cut or trim tree branches that hang over homes. When it comes to burning, Salley and Griffin have advice too.

"If you call South Carolina Forestry, they will let you know if you can or you can't burn," says Griffin. "They'll give you a permit number."

"Any household trash, or anything like that, they need to dispose of it properly by going to a landfill," adds Salley.

For more information on fireproofing your home, click here.

To contact Forestry in Aiken County, call 1-800-895-7057; Barnwell County, call 1-800-895-7061; Allendale County, call 1-800-895-7058; Edgefield County, call 1-800-986-5138; Bamberg County, call 1-800895-7060; McCormick County, call 1-800-705-8616; and Saluda County, call 1-800-517-9639.

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