Myrtle Beach fires continue; Sanford calls state of emergency

Image by Myrtle Beach Sun NewsImage by 20090423-fire-map.jpg A fire map put together by the local paper -- enlarge the map.

Update April 24: Check out the latest coverage.

Update April 23, late evening: The fire continues to burn, and it is believed it may continue to do so for some time.

The fire that has burned some 20,000 acres is only some 40% contained as of Thursday evening -- here's a map of the affected area.

This article at The Myrtle Beach Sun News is a good bet for the latest, as is the S.C. Emergency Management Division.

Meanwhile officials stated that the fire may have originated from an improperly executed controlled burn done late last week.

Update April 23, 3:50 p.m.: The fire situation remains serious and has garnered much attention, including a write-up in The New York Times.

We'll continue to bring you updates, but you can get filled in with latest about by watching this Twitter search.

Update April 23, 1 p.m.: Twitter user @JustinRockwell has put together an excellent map showing the progress, direction, and evacuation areas of the fire.

The fire is now moving to the northeast endangering more homes.

First reporting:

As a brushfire continues to burn near Myrtle Beach, Governor Sanford has declared a state of emergency and will likely visit the city on Friday.

Read more stories on this subject in our Myrtle Beach fire topic page.So far the fire has consumed some 15,000 acres and destroyed 70 homes, and officials are increasingly concerned the fire could rival the 1970s fire that destroyed some 30,000 acres.

"This has already proved to be a devastating event for Horry County, and it isn’t over,” Gov. Sanford said in a statement. “This fire is continuing to spread, and it’s incredibly important that people near the affected area pay close attention to emergency announcements and news outlets about developments with this disaster. We are continuing to work actively with the state Emergency Management Division and the Forestry Commission in determining what state assets are needed, and this action we’ve taken will allow our administration to deploy whatever is necessary on this front. In the meantime, I’d ask that every South Carolinian join Jenny, the boys and me in offering thoughts and prayers to those affected, and for every South Carolinian to think about ways in which they can help.”  

The Myrtle Beach Sun News is your best bet for the latest, or our prior coverage for the rundown.

Meanwhile a state-wide ban has been put in place against outdoor burning in unincorporated areas. Also, SC Now offers up tips on what to expect and do when filing a fire insurance claim.

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