Protecting against wildfires, state uses controlled burns

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - In an effort to protect against wildfires, state officials with DNR and the State Forestry Commission have been using controlled burns. On Thursday, several people spotted smoke coming off of International Drive in Carolina Forest, but officials insisted it was a controlled burn and not of any danger.

"Those areas that can be burned and have been burned are at a  really reduced risk to catch fire because what you've done is removed one of those key components of any kind of fire and that's the fuel," said Scott Hawkins, a spokesperson for the South Carolina Forestry Commission.

It's been nearly two years since a wildfire destroyed over 20,000 acres and left dozens of homes destroyed in Horry County. Since the fire, both state and local governments have examined the way they fight fires and prepare their employees.

"I was amazed at how fast it spread, especially with the winds," said Shirley Mccandless, a resident of Carolina Forest.

The State Forestry Commission is also looking into increasing the amount of a fine a person would receive if they were to be caught violating outdoor burning laws.

Copyright 2011 WMBF News. All Rights Reserved.