Saturday, 04 April 2020 18:15

Forest fire burns 100 acres on North-South Carolina state line

Written by
Rate this item
(1 Vote)
Crews from the Hamlet Fire Department and N.C. Forest Service are staged on Osborne Road as fire burns in the swamp at the state line. Crews from the Hamlet Fire Department and N.C. Forest Service are staged on Osborne Road as fire burns in the swamp at the state line. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

HAMLET― As planes circle overhead, crews from two states are working to contain a forest fire near the state line.

The fire, burning in a swampy area south of Osborne Road and east of N.C. 177, has been burning for more than 12 hours.

Richard Lassister, assistant chief of the Hamlet Fire Department, said crews were dispatched around 5:45 a.m. Saturday.

One passerby with South Carolina plates told firefighters at the scene that he had driven by around 4 a.m. and thought it was a controlled burn.

Lassiter said crews with the N.C. Forest Service put a line around the fire to contain it.

But a drop in humidity caused the fire to jump the line mid-afternoon, according to Jack Franklin, county ranger with the NCFS.

The fire had burned about 70 acres and crossed the state line around 4 p.m., resulting in crews from the Wallace Fire Department and the South Carolina Forestry Commission to be called out.

Lassiter said because the area is a swamp, it made it hard to get trucks and bulldozers in to help contain the fire.

Franklin later added that the area is notorious for fires. He also said that the fire would have been worse if it had happened earlier in the week because of stronger winds.

Two water-tanker planes were refueling at the Richmond County Airport when they were called in to assist. 

However, they were soon re-routed to Columbus County to a fire threatening homes near Whiteville.

By 5:30, the fire had burned about 100 acres.

The cause of the fire is not presently known.