North Myrtle Beach officials look back on Horry County wildfire

By Laura Thomas - bio | email

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It's been nearly a year since the Horry County Wildfire that destroyed nearly 19,000 acres and more than 70 homes.

As that one year mark approaches, first responders are taking a look back to see what they've learned from that disaster.

North Myrtle Beach Fire Chief Tom Barstow says the department has worked to have better training, better equipment, and better communication. Barstow says that in this past year, they've worked closely with the South Carolina Forestry Commission to prepare as much as possible for this year's wildfire season.

He says they've worked together to improve communications between departments.

"Our communications are vastly improved with the county and the state forestry commission," explained Barstow.

As far as training goes, Barstow says firefighters have taken online classes to learn how to better fight a wildfire.

The firefighters have also received new gear that's lighter. It's not the typical suits you see at a structure fire. The gear was donated by local businesses.

City Spokesperson Nicole Aiello says that's an example of the outpouring of support that she saw in the months after the fire.

"In the light of disaster, the community really pulled together," said Aiello. "The charitable donations that they gave [were] amazing and it was very quick, very response, and everybody took care of each other."

As the one year mark approaches, Barstow says people who live in the area can feel safe knowing that the department is prepared.

"We just want people to rest assured that we do have the capabilities, the mutual aid capabilities, and our fire personnel training and stuff that we can handle most wildfires," said Barstow.

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