State forestry officials are hoping a second fire they purposely started will help halt a large wildfire that has burned in Horry County since the weekend.
Firefighters are burning an additional 515 acres in a controlled burn attempt to slow down the Hornet Fire. The blaze started up near the Carolina Forest area Sunday and quickly burned more than 350 acres. The fire, which is currently 60 percent contained, is in mostly wooded areas and is not a threat to any buildings.
Workers are having trouble putting the fire out due to the area’s swampy terrain and heavy undergrowth. They hope the back burn will use up any dry vegetation that could otherwise serve as fuel for the fire. Forestry Commission spokesman Russell Hubright explained,
Basically, everything that’s green here will burn. So you have to get all that stuff cleared out of the way. Then, underneath that, you have this organic peat soil that will burn and smolder when it’s dry like this. You have to clear it out of the way. Then you finally get down to bare dirt, and your hope is that the fire will burn up in that bare dirt and stop.
The Forestry Commission is using bulldozers to attack the east side of the containment area today. They hope the flames will peak at mid-afternoon.
The fire started in a large wooded area near the Avon community around noon Sunday. It’s known as the “Hornet Fire,” because firefighters have been stung by the insects while containing the blaze.
Law enforcement agents from the Forestry Commission will be investigating the origin and cause for the fire.