A fine line between contained and controlled

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - As the wildfire that ripped through 20,500 acres of Horry County begins to weaken, Horry County officials have announced the Horry County Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center have closed.

The wildfire, as of Monday, is 95 percent contained as it continues to burn along Highway 90.  Russell Hubwright, spokesman for the South Carolina Forestry Commission, says while it is contained, there is still a fine line between "contained" and "controlled."

"What we've got is some smoldering going on," he said of the current wildfire conditions Sunday evening.  "We have some of the fire line that is not secure.  In other words, we don't' feel like we can walk away from it yet."

Hubwright says when the fire is contained, there is still the danger of it spreading into other areas, igniting brush, shrubbery and wooded areas around it.  Currently, an area along Long Branch Road, near Highway 31, continues to burn.

"To get it 100 percent contained," Hubwright noted, "That could be a matter of days."

When the South Carolina Forestry Commission feels the situation is under control, that's when Hubwright says officials will feel safe leaving the area.  Until then, officials will be in a monitoring phase until the wildfire is controlled.

As fire crews begin to take control of the wildfire Sunday, a number of roads have been reopened for public use - including Highway 22, Highway 90 and Highway 31.

Motorists are asked to be aware that while only a few roads are being affected by the fire, the possibility remains that there could be more road closures overnight due to dense smoke and low visibility.

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