The Horry County wildfires that burned 30 square miles are almost 100 percent contained, yet there’s still much work to do. State Forestry Commission spokesman Scott Hawkins says the mopping up stage is actually a “watering down” stage.
“Most of what lies ahead is folks getting out and turning stump holes over, shooting them with foam and water mixtures,” says Hawkins. “Pushing down snags which are dead trees that are still standing that could pose a threat.”
He calls it “persistent smoldering”. So workers, for miles, will check on smoke plumes often using hand tools to make sure the fire is out. With a fire of this size, it’s still likely that there will be flare-ups. “Now are they going to flare up and burn another 30 square miles of Horry County?” questions Hawkins. “Not likely. They are flaring up in areas that are black. By black, I mean charred already so the fuel has been removed. They could flare up and, if people are nearby recreating or sight-seeing, they could be harmed.”
State officials are gearing down their efforts but Hawkins says they may not be officially “done” for months. “The Incident Command Team will hand this fire over to the region. It will mirror more of our daily efforts of firefighting around the state. You see, it’ll be an area we’ve had a ire in and we’re checking regularly.”
To date insurance assessments are up to $25 million in damages from the wildfires that began almost a week ago.
Final acreage: 19,200 acres.
This map shows the 1976 fire boundary and the current fire boundary at 100% containment. From SC Forestry Commission Geographic Information Systems specialists.