UPDATE: Aiken brush fire under control; residents allowed to return home

Thursday, July 2, 2009 1:27 PM
Last updated 10:38 PM
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AIKEN – A brush fire in Aiken County burned more than 100 acres Thursday, causing minor injuries to one firefighter and heat exhaustion to two others fighting the blaze.

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A brush fire burns near Snipes Pond Road on Thursday.  RAINIER EHRHARDT/STAFF
A brush fire burns near Snipes Pond Road on Thursday.

The fire in an area off Snipes Pond Road, northeast of Aiken, was eventually contained about 6:30 p.m., said Aiken County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Myers. People who were asked to evacuate their homes were allowed to return that evening.

The firefighter injured suffered minor burns to an arm.

About 45 firefighters from several agencies spent much of the day fighting the brush fires that threatened but did not damage nearby homes. Authorities said they weren’t sure how the fires started but noted that high winds and low humidity helped to spread the flames.

Considering the acreage covered, Sgt. Myers said, it was one of the larger brush fires he has seen in the area.

“It could take a couple of days before its completely out,” Sgt. Myers said.

Firefighters from Couchton, Aiken, New Holland, Wagener and the South Carolina Forestry Commission fought the blazes, which forestry officials said were actually several smaller fires located near one another.

Scott Hawkins , a public information director for the South Carolina Forestry Commission, said more such fires have been occurring in the state lately. He attributed them to high winds and low humidity.

“And we haven’t had a lot of rain lately.”

Staff writer Adam Folk contributed to this article

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Radwaste 07/02/09 - 08:03 pm
This is a plea to all you

This is a plea to all you smokers out there: please, PLEASE correct your habit of throwing butts out the windows of your vehicle. I know you do it. You know you do it, and not just at intersections, where we can both see them pile up. Keep the butt in the car. Save a forest, some houses and maybe a life!

Debster 07/02/09 - 08:17 pm
Radwaste: I'm a non-smoker

Radwaste: I'm a non-smoker and have this question: Has a discarded cigarette butt been determined to be the cause of this fire?

struggling parent
struggling parent 07/02/09 - 08:38 pm
Yes a few times I can recall

Yes a few times I can recall over the years around the country that I lived, it was attributed to the cigs... especially along the hwy and rural road area.

curly123053 07/02/09 - 10:14 pm
Having spent 15 yrs as a

Having spent 15 yrs as a volunteer I can say I have seen many brush fires started by discarded cigarettes. The evidence is easy to spot after the fire is out. Today has seen very low humidity and brisk winds which made a tossed cig a good probability for the cause of this fire if there were no other ignition sources. Top priority right now is putting the fire out and saving property then they can focus on why.

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