By HEATHER RUPPE
Two woods fires tore through a rural part of Colleton County last week, with one fire destroying hundreds of acres of planted pine trees.
On April 13th at 1:52 p.m., firefighters were notified of a fire in the 9200-block of Sidneys Road.
“It appeared a vehicle traveling on Sidneys Road may have suffered a mechanical problem dropping sparks along the shoulder of the road, which ignited several fires over an approximately one-mile stretch of Sidneys Road,” said Colleton County Fire-Rescue Chief Barry McRoy. “Engine 5 found multiple fires in the area and requested additional units and several Forestry Tractors.”
Fire crews fought this blaze for nearly three hours. Overall, about 10 acres of woods were destroyed by the fire. One mobile home also received heat damage from the fire.
Then, about two hours later on the same day, firefighters were called to another massive woods fire. This time, the blaze was in the 400-block of Katie Bridge Road. McRoy said fire crews initially had a hard time discovering where this fire was actually located, even though they could see “heavy smoke” and hear the fire traveling through the woods.
“They later found a long driveway in the 600 block of Katie Bridge Rd, then located a portion of the fire approx. one-quarter-of-a-mile off of road,” he said. “The rapidly moving woods fire was driven by winds in a northerly direction toward Peniel Road.”
One house and several out buildings were threatened by the fire. Fire crews protected those buildings and the house; however, the fire burned around three sides of the residence and destroyed several piles of building materials and other stored items near the home, he said.
“Additional Fire-Rescue Units were sent to the area to protect structures along Katie Bridge Road and Peniel Road,” he said.
The S.C. Forestry Commission sent six tractors and a brush unit to help 12 Colleton County Fire-Rescue fire trucks and crews to contain the fire. In all, firefighting crews were on the scene for six hours.
According to McRoy, the fire “appears to have started from a trash fire in a metal drum.”
The S.C. Forestry Commission estimates this fire destroyed nearly 200 acres of planted pines.