South Carolina Forest Fire Burns

A fire that began Monday afternoon is still burning in a mountainous area of Pickens County.

The South Carolina Forestry Commission said that the fire has already burned more than 225 acres and is not yet under control.

Fire officials said that they hope rain on Wednesday will help.

Crews were trying to get to the blaze from Eastatoe Community Road.

The terrain is too rugged for bulldozers, so fire crews have to use shovels and rakes. Tuesday fire crews began lighting back fires to try to help bring the fire under control.

"Rolling embers can get fire below them and if that happens they're cooked, Forestry Commission spokesman Alan Alexander said. There's poor footing. There's rocks up there. It's real hard to hold the side of the mountain with one hand and dig a hand line with the other hand."

Firefighters said they believe an abandoned campfire ignited the blaze.

A helicopter from Greenville County dumped water from a nearby lake onto the fire, but crews on the ground said that the wind and rough terrain are making it dangerous.

Pickens is one of 17 South Carolina counties under a red flag alert, which means people are asked not to burn anything until the weather conditions improve.

Forestry authorities said stiff winds and low relative humidity have created dangerous conditions.

While burning is not prohibited under a red flag, it is a violation of state law to allow fire to escape. Escaped fires can result in fines and court costs of more than $450.

Suspected wildfires should be promptly reported to 911 or the Forestry Commission Dispatch Center at 1-800-777-FIRE.