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Wildfire Near Myrtle Beach: South Carolina’s Biggest in 3 Decades

April 24th, 2009 Category: Fires

Fire in South Carolina, USA - April 23rd, 2009

Fire in South Carolina, USA - April 23rd, 2009

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South Carolina’s biggest wildfire in more than three decades, a blaze 4 miles (about 6.5 km) wide near Myrtle Beach, destroyed dozens of homes Thursday, forced hundreds of people to flee and threatened other parts of this tourist mecca at the height of the spring season, reported MSNBC.

In this image of the South Carolina coast, smoke from the fire can be seen blowing towards Myrtle Beach.

The fire started several miles inland Wednesday, reported Fox News, near subdivisions and golf courses that have been carved from forest and swamps over decades.

Fanned by winds and tinder-dry scrubland, the fire got within 1.5 miles (about 2.5km) of the main coastal road that links beachfront towns and is lined with restaurants and stores.

Dry underbrush and highly combustible swamp peat fueled the fire, and 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.

The blaze scorched about 31 sq mi (about 50 sq km) over the past two days and then veered north, heading away from Myrtle Beach. There were no reports of injuries, and authorities said they had not determined what sparked the flames.

Some of the people who were evacuated returned home Thursday evening, when Horry County officials said in a statement that fire was 40 percent contained.

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