HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A wildland fire is now mostly under control off International Drive north of Wheatfield Drive, according to the South Carolina Forestry Commission.
About 50 acres were burned, and the fire is about 75 percent contained, according to Drake Carroll with the SC Forestry Commission. They are monitoring the fire, and no structures are directly threatened at this time.
The SC Forestry Commission launched a biplane to monitor the fire and at least 12 bulldozers into the woods to handle it. The fire started around 12:30 a.m. Friday.
A storm that passed through Friday evening turned out to be blessing in disguise, according to Carroll.
"Luckily yesterday about six o'clock we had significant rainfall. That storm pushed right over us which actually helped a lot. Mother Nature has actually been on our side a lot in this fire. So a lot of our efforts have been capable to maintain and everything on this fire to actually knock it down. Mother Nature did a lot for us." said Carroll.
The fire was about five acres in size earlier, according to Battalion Chief Brian VanAernem with Horry County Fire Rescue. He said to expect a large amount of smoke in the area Friday morning as fire crews from the Forestry Commission handle the fire.
Originally, the Forestry Commission informed Horry County Fire Rescue that they would be doing a 250-acre controlled back-burn in the same area as the five-acre fire that ignited, in order to remove materials that could fuel the same or future fires, according to North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling. After that information was given, the Forestry Commission apparently made the decision not to do the back-burn, and the fire currently burning originated from the fire that started last night.
VanAernem said there is nothing Horry County Fire Rescue can do at this time but they will assist the Forestry Commission if the fire gets closer to people.
VanAernem added that if you are nervous about fire or smoke near your property, call 911.
The land where the fire started is owned by the Department of Natural Resources. According to Drake Carroll with the South Carolina Forestry Commission, the threat to wildlife in the area appears to be minimal do tot he slow moving nature of the fire.
The S.C. Forestry Commission has dealt with 596 fires so far this year, burning 3,434.8 acres, averaging out to 5.8 acres per fire, according to statistics from the commission. June of 2015 was the busiest month for the 2015 fiscal year (July 2014 to June 2015) for fires in Horry County, with five fires burning 17.5 acres. Overall, fires across the state are down 53.3 percent from the five-year average.
No injuries have been reported at this time.