SC 170 brush fire out; investigation into cause continues

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comMay 3, 2012 

Fireworks might have caused the large brush fire Wednesday on Lemon Island that snarled traffic on S.C. 170 for hours and scorched a wooded area about a mile south of the Broad River bridge, authorities say.

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office is treating the blaze as a suspicious fire after remnants of fireworks were found near the scene, Sgt. Robin McIntosh said.

"They did find evidence of fireworks having been recently discharged out there; however, the cause of the fire has not yet been determined," McIntosh said.

The fire briefly caused all four lanes of S.C. 170 to be closed. Later, only one alternating lane of traffic was opened through the area as dark smoke wafted across the highway.

Within about three hours of arriving on the scene, state and local fire officials had contained the fire.

The containment effort, which involved digging a fire break to allow the blaze to burn itself out, kept it from flaring up again Thursday, Capt. Randy Hunter, spokesman for the Bluffton Township Fire Department, said.

"There is still some smoldering and ... some smoke, but it's not in the roadway," Hunter said. "But the fire appears to be out."

As dry, hot windy conditions persist, fire officials again urged residents to not light fireworks or conduct outdoor burns.

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