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Amid high fire danger, fires erupt across CSRA

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 11:28 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 22, 2021 at 1:53 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - With the fire danger high in the CSRA, structure and brush blazes have been keeping local crews busy for the past 24 hours, especially in Aiken County.

The latest to cause alarm was a brush fire east of Langley.

The fire was reported just before noon in the woods along Keith Drive near Piney Heights Road. Responding crews were concerned about structures in the area. They requested a bulldozer and a firefighting airplane to help suppress the blaze.

A brush fire along Keith Drive in Aiken County kept crews busy on April 22, 2021.
A brush fire along Keith Drive in Aiken County kept crews busy on April 22, 2021.(WRDW)

The fire spread to an acre and a half, but it had been mostly knocked down by 12:40 p.m., although it was still throwing a large amount of smoke into the air as a South Carolina Forestry Commission tractor was cutting a fire break. Crews planned to stick around to make sure the fire didn’t jump the break.

Officials at the scene said wind played a large factor in the spread of the fire.

Homeowner Bethany O’Banion said she came home when she noticed smoke coming from the woods behind her house. Apparently a barn with a classic car caught fire, as well.

Neighbors said this wasn’t the first fire there recently. A fire destroyed a house down the street several months back.

The cause of this latest fire is under investigation.

This was the scene on the afternoon of April 22, 2021, nearly 24 hours after a fire broke out...
This was the scene on the afternoon of April 22, 2021, nearly 24 hours after a fire broke out in the Trolley Line subdivision of Aiken County.(WRDW)

Even as crews fought those flames, they dealt with flare-ups from another Aiken County fire that began the day before in the Trolley Run subdivision.

That brush fire was first reported at 2:36 p.m. Wednesday, leading to the evacuation of homes

The danger was thought to be over after several hours, but around midnight, crews were called back because the blaze had flared up again. By 3 a.m., the GVW Fire Department reported the fire appeared to have slowed as the South Carolina Forestry Commission sent several tractors to plow fire breaks.

There was another brief flare-up just after midday Thursday.

The fire was smoldering around a fire break that had been cut to contain the blaze.

Small flames popped up from time to time at the site as smoke drifted in the air and a firefighting plane circled overhead.

Wind and low humidity were keeping the fire going, officials said.

At last report, the blaze had scorched at least 90 acres.

This was the scene after a structure fore at a mobile home in the 300 block of Good Springs...
This was the scene after a structure fore at a mobile home in the 300 block of Good Springs Road north of Aiken.(WRDW)

Earlier Thursday, crews battled a structure fire, also in Aiken County.

Dispatchers received a report around 11:10 a.m. of that fire at a home on the 300 block Good Springs Road across from Confederate Road.

The occupants got out, according to reports at the scene.

The homeowner told News 12 she was homeschooling her kids in the living room of the mobile home when one kid said there was a fire in the bedroom.

All the damage was contained to the interior of the home.

The rural neighborhood north of the city of Aiken and south of Interstate 20 is dotted with mobile homes on large, wooded lots.

Across the Savannah River in Georgia, in Augusta fought an outdoor fire that damaged a shed in the area of Peach Orchard Road and Boykin Road on Wednesday. No one was hurt.

The blazes came during a red-flag fire alert for the region due to high winds and lack of recent rainfall. Outdoor burning is highly discouraged during the alert, which will continue through Thursday.

Once the CSRA gets into the weekend, rain will be more of a concern than fires.

An area of low pressure combined with an upper-level trough is expected to move through the CSRA on Saturday, bringing a threat of heavy rain, according to the News 12 First Alert weather team. Widespread rain totals over 1 inch are possible.

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