Forest Fire Torches Island in South Carolina


A campfire sparked a forest fire that burned about 20 acres on an island in Lake Hartwell, according to the South Carolina Forestry Commission.

Scott Hawkins of the Forestry Commission said the fire started on Friday on Andersonville Island after campers left a fire unattended.

Andersonville Island is about seven miles long, has no buildings and is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Hawkins said firefighters had to contain the fire, otherwise smoke from the blaze could have forced a shutdown of Interstate 85 and posed a health hazard to people living near Lake Hartwell.

Firefighters started battling the fire around 4 p.m. on Saturday and were forced to dig a fire line by hand because bulldozers could not be brought to the island.

Firefighters at the scene said the drought contributed to the spread of the fire.

"The large fuels are dry," said Jarrod Brucke of the Forestry Commission. "The larger logs and things like that are so dry that they burn for a long time, so once they ignite they stay there and burn until they completely burn up."

As of 6 p.m. Sunday evening, the fire was contained, but still burning.

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