Local firefighters battling brush and woods fires as authorities warn against outdoor burning
Firefighters around the Lowcountry barely took a break Saturday as they battled one brush fire after another as nearly 100 acres burned in different spots around Charleston and Berkeley counties.
South Carolina’s Forestry Commission had issued an alert and warning that this weekend’s dry, warm and windy weather was going to increase the danger of wildfires in South Carolina.
The state saw just that, conditions that fueled the fires that started early Saturday afternoon.
Firefighters and forestry officials across South Carolina fought about 64 fires Saturday, according to Forestry Commission spokesman Scott Hawkins.
One fire in Horry County damaged homes and even killed pets, according to news reports.
Nearly a half dozen fires scorched parts of Berkeley and Charleston counties, according to the Forestry Commission’s website, which posts an interactive map of brush and wild fires around the state.
About 80 acres of forest burned in Berkeley County near Fish and Lebanon roads, according to the commission site. Forestry officials sent two of their own units along with a plane for visual support. No structures were damaged during that fire, a fire department official said. Firefighters from Lebanon, Pine Ridge, Goose Creek and Whitesville fire departments worked for a few hours putting out hot spots until the fire was contained at 5:39 p.m.
Fire officials believe a 5-acre blaze that burned near 855 Zion Road in Cross was started by debris burning. It started at around 2 p.m. Crews contained the fire within the hour, according to Hawkins.
Ten acres of forest burned in Berkeley near 1134 Trojan Road, a fire that also started because of debris burning, according to the forestry website.
Summerville’s Fire Department battled a small brush fire in a median on North Main Street near the IHOP restaurant, according to Battalion Chief Rodney W. Profit. Fire crews put out the blaze at around 3:30 p.m. Profit said it started because of a discarded cigarette butt, what he called a prime example of what you shouldn’t be doing with the current weather conditions.
“It could cause a huge wood fire, which is exactly what we don’t want to happen,” Profit said.
Friday night, Summerville firefighters also fought a blaze that heavily damaged a home at 114 East Carolina Ave., Profit said.
A fire on the property’s shed spread to the home, Profit said, but it may have started in the woods. Fire officials are investigating.
No one was home at the time and the house was for sale, Profit said. It took about eight hours for firefighters to extinguish the blaze.
Profit said a tongue and groove ceiling made it tougher for fire crews.
A large fire in the Windsor Green community in Carolina Forest in Horry County caused “significant damage,” according to the Myrtle Beach newspaper, The Sun News. There has been “significant loss,” Horry County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Leslie Yancey said, but no injuries had been reported as of 8 p.m.
Residents from the area were gathered near Carolina Forest Elementary School, where some were mourning the loss of their pets, according to The Sun News.
The Red Flag Fire Weather alert issued by the forestry agency at 12 a.m. Saturday discouraged citizens from burning yard debris at least until after it rains again.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.