Wildfire burning in Carolina Forest

Thick orange smoke filled the sky over Carolina Forest's Avalon community Sunday afternoon. / Lindsey Theis

Horry County and state Forestry firefighters remain on the scene of a 700 acre wildfire that's been burning near the Carolina Forest area since just after noon Sunday.

The South Carolina Forestry Commission says two bulldozers will continue working overnight Monday into Tuesday. Fresh Forestry Commission personnel will arrive Tuesday with additional equipment. Sunday night, crews had a hard time establishing a fire line because of thick vegetation in the area. On the other hand, some areas are extremely wet and several bulldozers got stuck.

HCFR Public Information Officer Leslie Yancey says they received a call about the fire at 12:30 p.m. Sunday near the Avalon subdivision.

The Forestry Commission's spokesman, Russell Hubright, says as of 11 p.m. Monday, the fire is 60 percent contained. No homes are immediately threatened and no calls for evacuations have been made. For now, the fire is headed away from the Avalon community.

Monday evening, many in the Avalon subdivision were worried after seeing large plumes of smoke and even some flames from back burning. The smoke wes seen coming over power lines backing up to the homes closest to the woods in that area. Firefighters performed what's called a back burn, where they burn any brush that could fuel and worsen the original wildfire. That 450 acre back burn (which is counted in the 700 total acres burned) was out by 8 p.m.

"Residents should be aware that additional smoke does not mean the fire is changing direction or intensifying," the Forestry Commission's Scott Hawkins said in an e-mail release.

The smoke from back burns may be heavy around Highways 90 and 22 overnight Monday and into the morning hours Tuesday. That could cause some problems for morning commuters. Drivers should exercise extreme caution. There is the possibility of road closures.

Monday afternoon crews focused on cutting fire breaks near Highway 90 and International Drive using 11 bulldozers.

SC Forestry Spokesman Scott Hawkins told us Sunday, the fire is burning toward unused ground fuel from the Carolina Forest wildfire of 2009, that burned more than 20,000 acres. Hawkins says they'll likely be working on the fire for the "next couple of days."

The South Carolina Forestry Commission names wildfires, and this one is called the "Hornet Fire" because there are so many hornet nests and yellow jackets.

Several of the firefighters were stung Sunday.

Before the Forestry Commission took NewsChannel 15's Joel Allen out for a tour of the area Monday morning, they asked him if he was allergic to bee stings.

Firefighters have spotted one bear as they worked the fire, and they're on the look out for snakes.

Click on Images above the video box at the top of this story for photos from the fire as well as a map created by the Forestry Commission of the area affected.

NewsChannel 15 will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

NewsChannel 15's Lindsey Theis contributed to this report.