Steady rains and lightning caused Forestry Commission officials to pull their crews out from battling the blaze known as the “Hornet Fire” in the Carolina Forest area.
Officials say the rain has cooled the fire down significantly. It remains 70 percent contained, although it has not grown since last week.
Crews battling are being slowed by heavy rain and mud, but the fire is far from out.
The Carolina Forest area, which is naturally boggy, became so muddy that crews were worried about doing too much damage with their vehicles.
The fire, which has burned more than 1,300 acres, is still 70 percent contained. Most of the damage was from fires purposely set to prevent the blaze from growing out of control.
“It’s not leaving containment lines,” said Forestry Commission spokesman Scott Hawkins, “We’re not saying 100 percent because we’re not leaving it, yet.”
State Forester Gene Kodama said the fire is taking a toll on the commission’s aging fleet of vehicles. He said seven bulldozers broke down in the first week. “We’re very fortunate,” he said during a Cabinet meeting last week, “They did not break down when they were actively engaging a flame front.”
The fire began on Fourth of July weekend after a wayward “Fire Lantern” sparked a blaze in dry vegetation outside teh Avalon community. No structures are at risk.