More than 100 firefighters responded to a fire off West Perry Road Saturday afternoon. That's off highway 501 near Legends Golf Resort. Sunday evening, out of state crews left the scene and returned home.
The fire remained contained with a final count of 178 acres burned. Crews continued to work overnight Saturday into Sunday and patrolled the fire lines.
Local resources from South Carolina Forestry Commissions and Horry Co. Fire Rescue will continue to monitor and maintain fire breaks in the days to come, Scott Hawkins with SC Forestry Commission says.
Cooperating agencies coordinated structure protection, working 50 feet inward from the containment lines doing mop-up. After that, they worked 100 feet inward from the lines, dousing any spots producing smoke or heat heavily with water.
Larry Michael Faircloth, 34, was arrested on outstanding warrants and written tickets in relation to the wildfire. One for allowing fire to escape and burning lands and another for failure to take proper precautions for an outdoor debris burn. If found guilty in court, he could face a fine of up to $720, Hawkins says.
Faircloth's burn was the point of origin for the fire, he adds.
Although it rained Sunday, safety is a big concern for those fighting the fire.
"The terrain remains treacherous for emergency responders," Hawkins says. "Crews are warned about ground fire creating fiercely hot stump holes and other hidden obstacles. Fire will possibly weaken the root support for large trees making them liable to fall without notice. Burns, bites and stings are common threat in this work. Rain also poses safety challenges due to slippery unpaved access roads and visibility issues."
Initial calls for the fire came in just after 2 p.m. Saturday. In response to the fire HCFR evacuated 50 homes in the Myrtle Trace subdivision for several hours. The Red Cross briefly opened a shelter at Beach Church off Fantasy Harbor. While crews were on scene Myrtle Trace, Legends, and West Perry Road were blocked off and no one was allowed into the housing developments other than emergency crews. West Perry Road is a dead end road, and Horry County police were brought in to divert traffic and get fire crews in.
As of 7:40 Saturday night, traffic was open again and those evacuated were allowed home.
Mop crews worked overnight. One mutual aide truck overturned Saturday on the way to fight the blaze, causing beach bound 501 to be blocked for more than an hour.
When we spoke to neighbors on West Perry Saturday afternoon, David Santimaw told us he called 911 and was told that a controlled burn was being conducted. He said someone on his street was burning all week.
"At night time here we can hardly even breather here in this area and then all of a sudden this afternoon, the wind must have shifted and the rest of the woods caught on fire behind the house," Santimaw said.
The Forestry Commission has named this fire "Legends II Fire." About a decade ago more than 1,000 acres burned in that same area.