Firefighters spent Monday setting controlled burns on the northwestern side of Pinnacle Mountain in an attempt to contain a growing fire near the North Carolina border.
The burnouts are part of an effort to keep the more than 2,700-acre fire from advancing outside its current remote perimeter where there are no structures. Russell Hubright of the South Carolina Forestry Commission said the fire was only about 25 percent contained as of Monday evening. “We’ve got containment lines established around a majority of the fire, but only have confidence in a quarter of that perimeter,” he told South Carolina Radio Network.
Crews with the forestry commission and local agencies are burning out near Emory Gap along the Foothills Trail, in an attempt to prevent the fire from spreading in that area. However, officials say the additional burnout will put more smoke in the air for northern Pickens County. So far, the fire has not left public lands inside Table Rock National Park, Jocassee Gorge Wilderness Area and the Greenville Watershed.
The state Department of Health and Environmental Control is encouraging those with respiratory trouble who live in the Upstate to stay indoors as the fires are creating a potentially unhealthy level of smoke. Hubright said that’s likely to continue for at least several more days.
About 140 firefighters are taking on the blaze. Also assisting are helicopter units from the South Carolina National Guard.
The fire is still growing, but was slowed by a light rain Sunday. Fire crews have taken advantage of the additional time to strengthen containment lines south and west of the wildfire, in hopes of fencing it against the South Saluda River.