Pair of Charleston forest fires burn 3,600 acres (update: arson suspected)

Image by Flickr user Adrien Brault

Update April 2, arson suspected: In the larger 2,500-acre blaze in the Francis Marion National Forest, fire officials are saying arson looks likely.

Though they're shying away from saying that matter-of-factly.

NBC News2 has a nice update; read it here.

Update March 29, Dorchester ticket: 59-year-old Raymond Nelson has been given a $400 ticket by officials in Dorchester 1,100 acre blaze.

It's believed that his yard debris fire is what set off the blaze, it's the second time Nelson has been issued such a ticket.

The Post and Courier has info on the ticket and an update on the fire's containment status; read their report here.

No word yet on a ticket for the larger Francis Marion fire.

Update March 25: Containment.

Firefighters are reporting that the fire is now fully contained after scorching some 2,600 acres.

I'll point you over to NBC News 2 for an update and some video; get it here.

A second fire in Dorchester County that has burned 1,000 acres has also been contained; head over to Live 5 News for an update.

Update March 24, evening: Though firefighters were hopeful that they had the fire near contained this morning, high winds helped the fire span a total of 2,500 acres.

However, as of this evening, they note an 85% containment.

  • Here's the latest info according to Awendaw Fire Department's Batallion Chief Bo Bowers, who has been the Incident Commander on scene today (until Chief David Lombardi relieved him):
  • Some 98 fire trucks assisted Wednesday night from numerous agencies assisting with the situation.
  • Earlier today, the police helicopter assisted with a flyover to assess the damage and make sure the fire was contained and the wet lines were holding.
  • Later on in the day, the U.S. Coast Guard assisted (due to high wind gusts that were up to 37 MPG, in which they can fly).
  • As of 6 p.m. Thursday, firefighters were getting ready to move the Command Post to the Awendaw Fire Station so they can have a Unified Command (joint-agency) along with the State Forestry Commission to regroup, anticipate the needs for tomorrow.
  • Fire and emergency personnel will continue to monitor the situation throughout tonight.

The Post and Courier has a robust update with some more narrative and details; read it here.

First reporting, March 23: Some 150 firefighters from across the region banded together to fight a fire that had burned 1,100 acres on the edge of Charleston County and was starting to push into Georgetown County. 

By late Wednesday, firefighters were hopeful that some 30% of the blaze around the northern tip of the Francis Marion National Forest, a location that caused the evacuation of many residents, and U.S. 17, the major link between Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

NBC News 2 has a lengthy video report that shows a map, imagery of the fire, and has updates from the scene as late as midnight; watch it here. The Post and Courier has a solid news write-up (read that here) and a nice photo gallery with some stunning aerials (see that here).

ABC News 4 has some raw aerial video of the blaze; watch it here.

We're still waiting on a morning update regarding the fire status and will update when we hear it. As of late last night, the road remained closed.

Update, morning: We just received a release that the fire is nearing containment and the road has reopened.

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