Wildfires Said to be the Worst in SC History

  Wildfires Said to be the Worst in SC History

24 April 2009

published by www.wciv.com

SC, USA — It’s now one of the worst wildfires in the history of South Carolina.

The numbers are startling: 69 homes gone, some $8 million in damage, and 20,000 acres of forest torched by the flames.

In 1976 30,000 acres were lost in a similar wildfire.

“We are not going to let that happen. We are not interested in breaking records,” Scott Hawkins with the Forestry Commission said.

The state forestry commission has 77 people on the scene.

Helicopters are dumping water and flame retardant material on the ground, hoping to stop the fire in its tracks.

“The main way you fight a wildfire in this part of the country is to drop the plow and break a fire line down the middle of the soil,” Hawkins said.

The Lowcountry Incident Management Team set up communications for the main agencies involved.

Peter Rogers, one of the members, took a tour of damage.

“The only way to describe it is a war zone. There are homes completely destroyed, nothing left but ashes, the remains of refrigerators, washer and dryers. Its just an incredible sight,” Rogers described.

The state forest fire chief said the cause of the wildfires is tied to a yard fire last weekend that local firefighters thought was extinguished.

The forestry commission did issue two tickets to someone for an uncontrolled burn on the 18th, at this point authorities believe the two incidents are connected.

Hawkins said they have ruled out arson, making it unlikely any criminal charges will be filed.

Officials said 50 percent of the fire is contained, but that could change as the winds grow stronger.

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