As of 11am Thursday, The Governor of South Carolina issued a state of emergency with regard to the wildfire which has rapidly grown since its origin yesterday afternoon.
In a statement from South Carolina Gov. Sanford's office:
'....DOZENS OF HOMES ALREADY DESTROYED AS FIRE NOW COVERS MORE THAN 15,000 ACRES
Columbia, S.C. - April 23, 2009 - Governor Sanford today issued a State of Emergency for Horry County as a wildfire that has already consumed 15,000 acres and destroyed an estimated 70 homes continued.
The state Forestry Commission is the primary agency in charge of fighting the fire, and the state Emergency Management Division has also deployed support assets to the scene in consultation with the Governor’s Office. The state Emergency Operations Center has been activated, with assets dispatched to fight the fire including a National Guard helicopter and other personnel.
State and local officials have already evacuated 2,500 people from their homes, and may evacuate more as the fire continues to spread. Three shelters to accommodate those leaving their homes have been opened, and those shelters are currently housing approximately 250 people. ..'
Areas of southeast North Carolina , especially Brunswick county, will see areas of smoke today as the sea breeze sets up into the afternoon. The National Weather Service has a portion of their site devoted to fire weather forecasting. I'll include it here for your information ( http://www.erh.noaa.gov/ilm/fire/ ) , however, we will also have updates available on News 14 Carolina and on our website www.news14.com .
Dry conditions will persist through the rest of the work week and into the weekend as we see a more summertime weather pattern set up off of our coast. High pressure overhead will drift eastward over Bermuda , increasing our temperatures and our humidity this weekend. Combine that with upper-level ridging and we have a dry, warm pattern into next week!
This week's drought monitor map keeps central NC out of any drought and has continued to keep SW North Carolina out of the 'severe drought' category. Moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions exist in western NC, and abnormally dry conditions persist in SE North Carolina, which is not helpful with the wildfire just to the south. Drought Monitor: http://drought.unl.edu/DM/DM_state.htm?NC,SE