Archive for Friday, April 24, 2009

Wildfire biggest in more than 3 decades

April 24, 2009


— South Carolina’s biggest wildfire in more than three decades — a blaze four miles wide — destroyed dozens of homes Thursday and threatened some of the area’s world-famous golf courses at the height of the spring tourist season.

The flames, fed by tinder-dry scrubland, forced hundreds of people to flee, and some took shelter in the House of Blues honkytonk.

The fire got within 1 1/2 miles of Route 17, the main coastal road that links beachfront towns and is lined with fast-food restaurants, beachwear stores and trinket shops. By Thursday evening, the flames were about 3 miles west of the highway.

The blaze scorched about 19,600 acres, or about 31 square miles, over the past two days and then veered north, heading away from the high-rise hotels that line Myrtle Beach. There were no reports of injuries, and authorities said they had not determined what sparked the flames.

Fueled by dry underbrush and highly combustible swamp peat, the blaze leveled about 70 homes and damaged 100 others early Thursday as the fire jumped a four-lane highway. The flames also forced authorities to evacuate 2,500 people.


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