SC Myrtle Beach wildfires intensifies: destroys 70 homes
The South Carolina Myrtle Beach wildfires, the worst in three decades that this area has seen, is set to intensify today after decreasing last night, as the winds pick up and the firebreaks cannot hold the blaze that have destroyed 70 homes, threatened the state's most popular tourist areas, and burned 25,000 acres.
The fire still has a number of hotspots that will pick up as the wind picks up and could damage more than the 100 homes already affected and and the 31 square miles of forest and open land.
The damage is estimated so far to be at $8.3 million, and no injuries have been reported.
Holly Welch, a spokesperson for the state Forestry Commission said about 30 firefighters kept up firebreaks overnight, and the blaze is now 50 percent contained, but that could change with the direction of the wind and weather today. There are winds blowing inland from the Atlantic and that feeds the fire and could push it further north.
"Where we think we have things secured, that could all go out the window," she said.
The wind speeds could reach up to 15 mph by this afternoon.
The fire started Wednesday night, and it is not known what the cause of the fire was at this time. Over 2,500 people had to be evacuated, some in the middle of the night, and had to be put up in shelters run by the Red Cross.
The fire came close to Route 17, which is the main coastal road linking the beach front and tourist areas, but they have backed off since. This area has a $16 billion a year tourist industry.