Firefighters: “Wildfires an example of what can go wrong“

  Firefighters: “Wildfires an example of what can go wrong“

27 April 2009

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North Myrtle Beach, SC, USA —  The State Forestry Commission says a trash fire set by a Conway man is to blame for the 31 square mile wildfire. Burning is a common practice across the state and but firefighters say things can quickly get out of control.

It’s a raging inferno that devastated everything in its path. The flames are gone for now, leaving behind dozens of homes reduced to rubble. State officials say they have linked the incident to a yard fire started days before, just ten miles from here. Firefighters say burning yard debris can turn dangerous in a second if you’re not careful.

“They burn and let it go and walk away and that could be a problem, it could spread to another house or brush, just like it did in Myrtle Beach,” said Devin Hodgman with Goose Creek Rural Fire Department

Devin Hodgman says they respond to a numerous brush fires throughout the year. He says sometimes its a simple yard fire the homeowners failed to contain.

“Keep a shovel and rake out there to drag it out, get all the embers, keep a hose out there and don’t burn after three,” said Hodgman.

This is what’s left of a small brush fire off North Rhett, firefighters say a cigarette is likely to blame, but its serves as an example of what can happen when conditions are ripe. Dry and windy weather can make it easier for fires to spread and the other issue is when a yard fire appears to be out.

“They don’t think about the fact you can douse it with water but the embers can burn underneath can spread to the edges of the grass that haven’t burned,” said Hodgman.

State Investigators believe that’s what happened here, the simple trash fire laid quiet before erupting across the Grand Strand. The statewide burn ban was lifted today but by law people are required to call the South Carolina Forestry Commission before you burn.

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