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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post South Carolina Dry?

    Fires, from coast to coast.

    MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) - Close to 100 state and local
    firefighters battled a wildfire through Sunday night and Monday
    morning that had already burned about 1,000 acres and forced
    residents and visitors from a Grand Strand golf resort.
    The smoke from the blaze, which began Saturday, could be seen
    and smelled more than 35 miles away, said Emergency Medical
    Services Director Mike Mock.
    After the fire broke through control lines, officials ordered
    about 100 people to leave The Legends Golf Club resort near U.S.
    Highway 501.
    Jennie Morris, fire information officer for State Forestry
    Commission, said officials called for the mandatory evacuation
    because the fire was burning freely in dense vegetation.
    On Saturday, thick smoke from the fire had Legends Resort
    residents leaving their homes voluntarily.
    The blaze had already burned about 800-to-1,000 acres near U.S.
    Highway 501 in Horry County. As of 7 p.m., there had been no
    injuries or damage to homes from the fire.
    About 50 Horry County firefighters and 40 from the state
    Forestry Commission were on scene. Two National Guard helicopters
    dumped water from above for several hours Sunday.
    "Forestry Commission and the Horry County Fire and Rescue
    Department are scrambling to reposition their firefighters and
    equipment ahead of the blaze," a commission statement said.
    Witnesses say the fire is about a half-mile to three-quarters of
    a mile from U.S. Highway 501.
    "It's making us nervous" coming that close to the main road,
    Morris said.
    Horry County Fire Rescue Chief Randy Webster said people near
    the fire should stay indoors. "The smoke conditions are going to
    be very hazardous," Webster told The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News.
    Residents in the nearby subdivision Hunters Ridge gathered in
    driveways and the road to chart the fire's progress as it burned
    tree tops. "That's a sound I don't think I'm going to forget real
    soon," said Scott Newton, who watched through binoculars.
    Newton had packed his family's valuables and clothes and put
    them by the front door. "If it gets bad, I'll just load it up and
    leave," he said.
    The fire burned part of the Legend resort's Moorland golf course
    on Saturday but no additional damage has been reported, said Jerry
    Casteel, Horry County assistant fire chief. "I'm sure we'll have
    to come back and size it all up once it's done," he said.
    The wildfire may also threaten the Myrtle Trace residential
    community, the Forestry Commission's Morris said. Officials expect
    the blaze to reach the area tomorrow, but erratic winds may take
    the wildfire elsewhere, she said.
    An executive order from the Governor's Office made the National
    Guard helicopters available for aerial water bombardment.
    Because of the firefighters and equipment being brought in from
    around the state to help out, the South Carolina Forestry
    Commission issued a red flag alert for all 46 counties. The alert
    does not ban outdoor burning, but asks that it be postponed if
    possible.
    The commission says that wildfires in South Carolina have been
    higher than normal this month. It says the fires tend to burn with
    greater intensity because of the state's dry conditions.

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


  2. #2
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post Updated Info

    MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) - A wildfire that has burned about 1,500
    acres and threatened at least two housing communities during the
    past few days was about 80 percent contained Monday afternoon,
    state forestry officials said.
    No injuries or damage to homes had been reported.
    The containment meant firebreaks were holding and the blaze was
    no longer spreading. However, the fire was not under control, said
    Ken Cabe, spokesman for the South Carolina Forestry Commission.
    State Forester Bob Schowalter issued a ban on all outdoor
    burning in unincorporated Horry County.
    "He was concerned about firefighting resources being stretched
    too thin," Cabe said. The office also issued a red flag alert for
    the rest of the state. That alert doesn't ban burning, but the
    commission asks that burning be postponed as long as possible.
    Another concern going into Monday night was the continued
    production of smoke, which could cause respiratory trouble for
    residents and visibility problems for motorists.
    No roads had been closed by 5 p.m. Monday, Highway Patrol
    spokesman Tony Love said. "But as night falls, it could be a
    concern," he said.
    The state Department of Transportation put up signs warning
    about potential visibility problems on U.S. Highway 501, spokesman
    Pete Poore said.
    The fire was burning north of U.S. 501 and west of the
    Intracoastal Waterway, Cabe said. About 100 state and local
    firefighters were on the scene and National Guard helicopters
    continued to douse hotspots.
    About 400 people were evacuated from condominiums at The Legends
    Golf Club when the fire began Saturday afternoon, said Lisa
    Bourcier, spokeswoman for Horry County Fire and Rescue.
    Officials think the blaze was started by lightning.
    Bourcier said 30 to 40 homes were evacuated Sunday afternoon,
    but residents were allowed to return Sunday night.
    Two neighborhoods that were threatened - Burning Tree and Myrtle
    Trace - have a lot of elderly residents, Bourcier said. Local law
    enforcement officers were going door-to-door to inform residents
    about the fire and to find out whether they had special needs if
    evacuation was necessary.

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  3. #3
    Senior Member firecat1524's Avatar
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    Yeah, we are just a little dry. SCDNR press release.

    DROUGHT UPGRADED TO SEVERE STATEWIDE IN SOUTH CAROLINA

    The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has upgraded South Carolina's drought status from moderate to severe statewide, including all 46 counties. The decision to move to the severe stage was unanimous when members of the state and four regional S.C. Drought Response Committees met today (Wednesday, June 19) in Columbia in Richland County Council Chambers.

    The entire state has reached severe drought status, which was the consensus today of all four regional Drought Response Committees , said Hope Mizzell, the state's drought program coordinator with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR), based on below normal precipitation, record low streamflow levels, agricultural stress and the potential threat of forest fires. The state had been under a "moderate" drought declaration since Sept. 11, 2001.

    Alfred Vang, DNR Deputy Director of the Land, Water and Conservation Division, stressed that the committee voted to upgrade the state's drought status to severe on the side of caution to protect life and property during the coming days of potential water shortages. The committee wants to ensure that everyone is prepared for more serious drought conditions and not caught off guard by these impacts.

    According to Tom Ardrey with the National Weather Service in Columbia and Milt Brown, Acting State Climatologist with DNR, the summer precipitation outlook does not show any substantial relief from the drought. We're not going to overcome this drought with a pattern of evening thunderstorms because it's just too spotty, Brown said. It would take a tropical system to have an impact on this drought."

    "Most stream flows in South Carolina are currently at their historical lowest flows for this time of the year, according to DNR hydrologist Bud Badr. Water levels in shallow and deep water wells continue to decline."

    During today's drought committee meeting Ted Cooney, data chief for the U.S. Geological Survey in South Carolina presented computer graphs from June 18 showing that many streamflow monitoring gauges in the state have reached are very near to new record low levels. He said that some of the stream gauges date back to the turn of the century.

    Hope Mizzell, Drought Program Coordinator urged recreational boaters to watch dropping water levels in streams and lakes that could create hazardous conditions and to proceed with extreme caution. All boaters need to be alert to the new water hazards such as shallow water, stumps, logs and old pilings and rocks created by low water conditions.

    South Carolina Forestry Commission spokesman Ken Cabe said that careless burning is the leading cause of wildfires in South Carolina. Careless burning, including failure to tend an outdoor fire, is a violation of state law. In addition to criminal charges, careless burners are also liable for civil damages if their fire burns someone else's property. Forestry Commission officials said drought conditions mean outdoor burning must be handled with extreme caution. Any outdoor fire should be tended constantly until the fire is out and all embers are extinguished.

    David Baize, Water Monitoring division director with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), said there are no reported water quality problems at this time; however, DHEC is issuing letters to all water system owners and dischargers requesting their attention to the drought conditions. Both DNR and DHEC stress to the public and water suppliers that while water restrictions are not popular, early and effective use of voluntary restrictions, where needed, may be necessary to protect water integrity and quality.

    "Agriculture is in a critical situation because of the continuing drought, possibly the worst in many years, said David Tompkins, State Farmers Market administrator with the S.C. Department of Agriculture. It's critical at this time of year for our corn crop to get rain, and we are already seeing damage. For many fruits and vegetables it will be a much shorter season with good quality watermelons and cantaloupes ripening and coming into the market over a short time period, rather than prolonged as it should be. The drought is making peaches smaller, but they are just as tasty as ever. The state's farmers are experiencing a natural disaster and hopefully there will be some financial assistance because of it."

    According to Gene Cornett in the Central Drought Management region cattle producers around the state are already feeding hay because the grassland and summer forages are not growing. The first cutting of hay was less than 50 percent of average amounts. Many cattle producers are considering herd reductions.

    Dean Moss, general manager of the Beaufort - Jasper Water and Sewer Authority, speaking for the Western Drought Management Committee that includes 13 counties in the Savannah River drainage, reported that his group voted to increase the area's drought status from moderate to severe due to present and diminishing stream and ground water levels. "We encourage individual water users in our area to voluntarily implement water conservation measures. Also, municipal users should consider implementing mandatory water conservation."

    Representing the Northeastern Drought Management Committee that includes 10 counties in the Pee Dee drainage, Mike Hancock, general manager of the Lugoff - Elgin Water Authority, said, "We are in unanimous agreement to declare a severe drought in our region. We encourage local governments to institute water conservation measures.

    Sumter City Manager Talmadge Tobias, a member of the Central Drought Management Committee which includes 18 counties in the Santee Drainage, said his group recommended escalation to a severe drought status in their region, which extends from the North Carolina state line south to the coast. There is no recommendation for mandatory water restrictions in the Central Drought Management Area unless required by local government agencies.

    Representing the Southern Drought Management Committee that covers six counties in the ACE Basin, Terry Tudor of the Goose Creek Special Purpose District said her group voted to upgrade the region's drought status from moderate to severe in light of the scientific evidence for greatly reduced water levels and the current outlook. She said that while everybody in the region is not experiencing the same drought-related problems, many people currently are, and more may be impacted.

    DNR will continue to monitor the statewide drought and provide updates as needed. The public should contact the center at (803) 734-9100 for more information or if other problems arise. Integrated drought information is available on the DNR's State Climatology Office Internet Web site: http://water.dnr.state.sc.us/climate/sco/drought.html. Hope Mizzell is State Drought Program coordinator in the DNR State Climatology Office at (803) 734-9100 in Columbia.

    Mike Creel News Section Chief SC Department of Natural Resources 1000 Assembly St., P.O. Box 167 Columbia, South Carolina 29202 Phone: 803-734-3950 Fax: 803-734-3951 creelm@scdnr.state.sc.us

  4. #4
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Question

    I hope you don't have a need for resources any time soon. Everything looks like it's gonna be committed to CA, CO and AZ. I would imagine you could muster some East coast strike teams...but handcrews are gonna be at a premium!

    Good luck...
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  5. #5
    Senior Member firecat1524's Avatar
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    Thanks...I'm really worried about the upcoming 4th of July holiday. Fireworks are legal in SC...and the area where I work is urban/suburban with major interface issues. I am supposed to be on vacation that week...but the scuttlebutt today was no leave is safe. So far we have gotten lucky....the entire state has been under a red Flag advisory for almost a week, which doesn't prohibit outdoor burning in the state, but does in my county by ordinance. We've also been lucky in that we have had high humidity due to a reversal of our typical weather pattern of west to east. The forcast calls for thundershowers tommorrow (Sat.), but if the weather pattern changes and we get another west to east pattern the benefits of this could be gone as early as Monday or Tuesday.
    The few fires we have had have been small, but deep seated due to low fuel moisture..and for the most part have burned to mineral soil. Not really that bad...just aggrevating mostly. The worst part of the entire deal is the fact that due to State budget cuts, the SC Forestry Commision is down about 60 firefighting personnel, so getting a tractor on a fire gets hard at times due to multiple calls. We just have to grin and bear it....it's not going to get any easier anytime soon it seems.

  6. #6
    Junior Member dewtime's Avatar
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    Default

    Firecat,

    All we need is a phone call and you guys will have what you need from your other carolina state. North Carolina that is. Lots of equipment and personel willing to do what we can to help out.

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