PICKENS CO., SC (WSPA) – As the Pinnacle Mountain Fire grew to almost 3,300 acres, Pickens County Council declared a state of emergency.
Council members said the fire poses a threat to public order and threatens the life, health and safety of people in the county.
It’s possible the fire could disrupt communications, interfere with the use of roadway and poses “substantial threats to public order,” according to the declaration.
The state of emergency will be in effect for 20 days unless terminated earlier by council.
Pierce Womack, deputy director of Pickens County Emergency Management, said the state Forestry Commission would conduct a burn out operation to stop the fire from spreading further east.
He said smoke from the operation would affect areas north of Highway 11 from Back Park Road to South Saluda Road.
Officials said that 86 homes will be evacuated. The evacuations were underway by 8:15 a.m. Thursday.
People who live on Back Park Road, Country Creek Drive and the west side of South Saluda Road were the only evacuations recommended Wednesday night.
Pickens County is encouraging residents to register their contact information with its reverse notification system so they can receive emergency alerts in the event of evacuations. Click here for details on how to enroll for alerts.
The Pinnacle Mountain wildfire had grown to about 3,640 acres Thursday morning. Officials said 35 percent of the fire remained contained.
It was an improvement from Tuesday night, when the fire was about 25 percent contained.
Officials say fire crews were able to make some progress after foggy conditions cleared Tuesday.
Russell Hubright with the S.C. Forestry said that thousands of ping pong balls will be dropped in the area. One minute later, a chemical reaction will produce flames. He said it’s the fastest way to do the burn out operation and may be fire crews’ only option.
Residents in the area are encouraged to leave. Smoke could also be a concern for drivers, who are encouraged to avoid the area.
People can call 864-898-5373 for updates and current evacuations related to the Pinnacle Mountain Fire.