On the floor of the state Senate today, Grand Strand lawmakers rose to address their colleagues about the status of the wildfire emergency. The Governor has declared a state of emergency and a statewide burning ban as a result of the fires that began Wednesday night. The fires have burned approximately 15,000 acres.Horry County Senator Luke Rankin explained that the blaze began as a brush fire along Highway 90 and spread to a devastating inferno that destroyed houses in the Grand Dunes development. “My secretary, who lives at Barefoot, was displaced and had to move out at 3:00 this morning. Lots of property interests there are being affected. We want to ask for thoughts and prayers, and for rainin Horry County.”
Horry County Senator Dick Elliot says close to 100 homes have been severely damaged or lost in his district, many in the Grand Dunes community, where homes are valued at between 400,000 and $600,000 each. “The people are gathering anywhere they can, sharing with each other, giving help to each other, because when you loose a home, it’s a drastic situation in the lives of any person, any family.”
Georgetown Senator Raymond Clearly said the seriousness of the emergency is evident. “Twenty-five-hundred people have been evacuated. There’s a lot of concern about death because there’s a lot of tourists and they don’t know how to reach them when they’re at home in their sleep. My brother-in-law, one of the fire chiefs told me that for every home they saved, they might have lost 50. It is serious. Even parts of Sandy Island in Georgetown have been on fire.”
At least 250 residents are now in shelters.