SC Wildfire Blamed on Burning of Yard Debris

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2009 1:56 PM CDT
Dennis Chase turns away from the heat of a fire in Horry County, SC, yesterday.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Investigators say the wildfire tearing through South Carolina was set off by someone burning yard debris, the AP reports. The fire apparently rekindled days later, then burned through dry scrub and trees into North Myrtle Beach. The fire was about 50% contained this afternoon, and the tourist area of Myrtle Beach remains unscathed, but officials warned the situation could change quickly if winds pick up.

“Where we think we have things secured, that could all go out the window,” said one. The fire, the state’s worst in more than 30 years, has burned through about 30 square miles, destroying 70 homes and ravaging 100 more. The current damage estimate is $8.3 million. Authorities have yet to formally charge the alleged fire-starter, who faces about $700 in fines.