Firefighters are trying to contain a wildfire that has rapidly spread across a remote section of Table Rock State Park in northern Pickens County, according to the South Carolina Forestry Commission.
The fire had grown to more than 250 acres by Thursday evening, according to a released from the commission. Fire crews had hoped their efforts Wednesday could douse the blaze on Pinnacle Mountain, but exceptionally dry conditions sparked the blaze again Thursday. The fire is not considered a public danger at this time, since the area is remote wilderness. But park trails at Table Rock are currently closed to the public, although the park itself remains open.
SCFC spokesman Doug Wood said 20 firefighters spent Thursday on Pinnacle Mountain digging firebreaks in hopes of halting the blaze. Another 10-person strike team of local fire services was also on-hand. A South Carolina National Guard Blackhawk helicopter was used to drop water on the fire Thursday morning. But firefighters have since requested a larger Chinook helicopter, which they hope will be able to dip more water from a nearby reservoir to drop on the fire.
“The weather is not cooperating,” Wood told South Carolina Radio Network. “It’s not terrible, with wind gusting or anything, but we’ve just seen a pickup in fire activity throughout the day.”
The Forestry Commission declared a ban on outdoor burning in Pickens and four other counties Wednesday due to the unusually dry conditions, which have sparked larger wildfires in North Carolina and Georgia. The ban is also in effect for Anderson, Greenville, Oconee and Spartanburg counties. Parts of the Upstate have not seen a drop of rain for more than a month.
Fire crews have not identified a cause for the Pinnacle Mountain fire at this time.