“Representative Jeff Duncan thought it would be a good idea to have legislators from the Horry County area plus employees of state agencies which manage land to come together here at the Forestry Commission headquarters here in Columbia and just get a premiere on wildfire and how the Forestry Commission would respond if a fire were to occur again,” says Scott Hawkins with the State Forestry Commission.
Hawkins says a wildfire with the capacity of the one in Horry County happens approximately every 30 years. He says it’s too early to tell if anything was handled wrong, but as he sees it, he wouldn’t really call the April wildfire an eye opener.
“No, our folks train every year. They go out west on wildfire detail, our eyes are opened to the fact that wildfire can happen any time and we’ve been expecting one like this for several years. But, the last really intense fire season was 1985 in this state,” says Hawkins.
Hawkins says the whole purpose of the meeting was for a group of state officials to put their heads together and work out the fine details of how the state can prepare before another fire.
“Next step is have our internal meeting with just the South Carolina Forestry Commission personnel who were on the fire, and the folks in the Columbia headquarters, look at our actions on the fire internally, and then learn what we can, then go to our cooperating agencies from April and get with their folks who were working with us so well on the fire and say, ‘well how did it go down for you?” says Hawkins.
The Forestry Commission will find out more results this summer on how well they handled the fire and what they can improve on.