A large fire issuing a huge plume of smoke between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach was a controlled burn being conducted by the South Carolina Forestry Commission, according to North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling.
Dowling said the active fire was around Edge Road and S.C. 90 in the area of S.C. 22 and S.C. 31 and Watertower Road.
“Smoke is lingering in Highway 22 between Highway 90 and Highway 31,” Dowling said, but the fire is under control.
Doug Wood, director of communications at the Forestry Commission, said that there were at least four large-scale controlled burns between Georgetown and the Myrtle Beach areas scheduled for Wednesday. The prescribed burns were scheduled to be at least 100 acres or more.
“If you’re seeing smoke, it’s almost guaranteed that you’re seeing it from these big prescribed burns,” Wood said.
Controlled burns can be employed to reduce hazardous fuels, “protecting human communities from extreme fires;” minimize “the spread of pest insects and disease;” remove “unwanted species that threaten species native to an ecosystem;” provide “forage for game;” improve “habitat for threatened and endangered species;” recycle “nutrients back to the soil;” and, promote “the growth of trees, wildflowers and other plants,” according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The controlled burn near North Myrtle Beach also was evident with widespread smoke in the area Tuesday.
North Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue advised the public Tuesday evening that there were “NO active fires within City limits or immediate area outside” NMB as the controlled burn progressed outside the city.