Residents return to homes after evacuating for brush fires

Investigators still don't know how it got started, but there's no doubt these dry conditions and heavy winds played a major role.
Investigators still don't know how it got started, but there's no doubt these dry conditions and heavy winds played a major role.

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF)- Brush fires forced some to leave their homes Saturday afternoon in North Augusta. Authorities received reports of brush fires around 1 p.m. near Blanchard Rd. Those near that area of town are back in their homes, but it was a scary scene for much of the afternoon.

Investigators still don’t know how it got started, but there’s no doubt these dry conditions and heavy winds played a major role.

“Once firefighters got on scene, started evaluating the situation… if you can feel the winds out today, that’s one of the biggest problems that we’re having because that fire needs the oxygen, and the wind’s just going to push it,” said Capt. Nick Gallam with the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office.

In fact, the area was prime for a fire. A Red Flag Warning was in effect until 6 p.m. Saturday, which basically warns that the combination of very dry ground, dry air, and strong winds could result in brush fires.

“With the dry conditions that we have throughout the month here, I guess they made a determination that this could move rather quickly, and the evacuation of the homes that are nearby was of the upmost importance,” Gallam said.

Deputies diverted traffic and went door-to-door in the area around Blanchard Woods, telling residents they needed to get out for the own safety. Crews went right to work to extinguish the blazes. Aircraft helped pin-point the areas affected, while several fire departments worked on the ground.

“If they can get on top of the fire and get it knocked down, we’ll try to get people in their homes tonight,” he said.

They did just that. By late afternoon,the fires were under control, and people were let back into their homes.

The only person injured was a firefighter who suffered mild heat exhaustion.

A representative from the sheriff’s department says fires like this can easily be re-kindled, so authorities are asking residents to stay alert and report any signs of fire.

 

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