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      Firefighters optimistic about Horry Co. wildfire

      Photo Credit: WPDE

      HORRY COUNTY (WPDE) -- A burnout conducted on Monday by the South Carolina Forestry Commission helped to secure two edges of the Hornet Fire in the Carolina Forest area.

      A burnout is in an intentionally set fire designed to burn any fuel the fire could potentially use to spread.

      "The west edge of the fire is looking really good from the burnout. If we were to get a heavy seabreeze, that edge is secure," SCFC Public Information Officer Russell Hubright said.

      He said the southern edge of the fire near the Avalon subdivision is even more secure than it already was. The fire is now farther away from homes.

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      Hubright said crews are having some difficulty near the northwest edge and the east side of the fire, south of Shed Road. Wet Carolina Bay terrain is causing problems for personnel. "Bulldozers are getting stuck out there, so we're having some challenges getting breaks in," Hubright said.

      SCFC plans to aggressively attack the east side Tuesday. 12 to 15 foot flame heights are possible if fire behavior peaks during the mid-afternoon hours. Residents are likely to see heavy smoke to the northeast. Drivers should also expect smoky conditions on highways 90 and 22.

      The Hornet Fire and Forestry's controlled fire have left 773 acres of land scorched since Sunday. It is still 60 percent contained.

      Seven firefighters from Horry County Fire Rescue, who have done cross training with the Forestry Commission, are working the fire. SCFC has 18 members on site Monday, including law enforcement agents who are investigating the cause of the fire.

      (This story courtesy WPDE and