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      Brush fire burned 50 acres from Little River into NC

      The black smoke as seen from the Thomas Road command location set up by Horry County Fire Rescue. / Lisa Edge

      A wildfire in Horry County burned more than 50 acres of land and threatened homes Wednesday afternoon.

      The fire, which was called in at 2:19 p.m., started near Thomas Road and crossed over the SC/NC line. Forestry firefighters from both North and South Carolina and county fire departments from both states fought the fire.

      Forestry planes circled the area to provide tactical support to ground crews by dropping water on the fire.

      20 to 30 homes were evacuated, but everyone has been allowed to go back home. Horry County used its Geo Alert System to contact people in 96 homes near the fire.

      The Coastal South Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross opened a shelter at Anchor Baptist Church in Little River, but it closed at 6 p.m. and no residents had to take advantage of it.

      All roads that were closed because of the fire opened back up nearly four hours after the fire began.

      No homes were damaged. Responders say the fire could have been a lot worse.

      "(It) had a lot of potential to cause a lot of property damage, but due to some excellent work by our firefighters and a little cooperation from Mother Nature, we adverted disaster," said Horry County Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Scott Thompson.

      The cause of the fire is under investigation.