Greenville and Pickens counties remain under a state of emergency as the Pinnacle Mountain Fire continues to grow, reaching the North Carolina state line by Thursday, according to South Carolina Forestry Commission officials.
Commission forester Brad Bramlett said slight overnight rains did not do nearly enough to slow the fire on Wednesday. “In several places, it’s burned all the way up to the North Carolina line,” he told South Carolina Radio Network.
Firefighters spent Thanksgiving setting intentional blazes to remove potential fuel from the fire’s path. Bramlett said several fires were set at clearings and roadways along the border in the hopes they could backburn to the main part of the wildfire north of the Table Rock Reservoir. A similar effort checked the fire’s eastward advance last week towards homes around Table Rock State Park before another section jumped the South Saluda River to instead expand northward.
Bramlett said cloud cover prevented planes from getting infrared images of the fire Wednesday night, so officials do not know how much the fire has grown since Tuesday’s reported 7,200+ acres. He was optimistic a plane would be able to update the size on Thursday night. The fire, blamed on an escaped campfire, remains only 37 percent contained.
The North Carolina Forest Service has now tied in with incident command and is helping efforts to secure the state line.
Tonight, at the end of the shift, firefighters will be treated to a Thanksgiving meal donated by Yokohama Industries Americas of Easley. Some local area legislators are also on hand to serve the Thanksgiving meal.
Officials have closed all public trails between Caesar’s Head State Park and Sassafras Mountain along the North Carolina border, including the popular Ravenscliff Falls hike, that section of the Foothills Trail, as well as the Dismal and Gum Gap trails. Table Rock State Park remains closed outside its visitors center. The State Parks Service plans to re-open the park’s trails in stages conditions are deemed safe for the public. Many were damaged in the fire the past two weeks.
No evacuations have been ordered at this time, although North Carolina officials are telling residents along the border to be on alert.
Tuesday’s emergency declaration allows the governor to request help from the South Carolina National Guard and the State Guard. The fire has cost various state agencies more than $2.8 million to fight as of Wednesday.