Aiken County drought status upgraded to ‘incipient’
While no major drought impacts were reported, some members of the committee expressed concern about the potential for dry conditions due to La Nina, according to a press release from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, or SCDNR.
While wildfire occurrence has been low so far this month, fuels that grew over the growing season are rapidly curing, the press release stated.
"If dry conditions continue, we expect to see a rise in the number of wildfires, especially on days when high winds coincide with low relative humidity," S.C. Forestry Commission Forest Protection Chief Darryl Jones said.
"A developing drought could also result in poor seedling survival as we enter tree planting season."
The drought status for Edgefield, Saluda and Barnwell counties also was classified "incipient," but their statuses weren’t upgraded.
"The improved stream-flow conditions supported the removal of an incipient drought status for these two counties.
In the Pee Dee Basin, below-normal stream-flow levels supported the upgrade in drought status to incipient for the counties of Chesterfield, Darlington, Marlboro, Dillon and Marion."
The committee will continue to monitor the weather and will meet again as needed.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map, which was issued Nov. 21, classified almost all of Aiken County and eastern Edgefield County as abnormally dry.
The northern part of Saluda County was abnormally dry, but there was a moderate drought in the rest of the county.