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Firefighters taming South Carolina wildfire

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (CNN) -- A wildfire that charred up to 1,800 acres was 80 percent contained Monday and could be completely under control by the end of the day, a county spokeswoman said.

There were no reported injuries or homes destroyed by the fire seven miles west of Myrtle Beach.

The South Carolina Forestry Commission "made a lot of headway last night and early this morning," digging earthen barriers to keep the fire from spreading, said Lisa Bourcier, public information officer for Horry County.

"The wind hasn't pick up, so the fire's pretty low right now," she said. "It came very close to a church last night, but they were able to save it."

Up to 40 homes had been evacuated, but residents were allowed to return late Sunday, and no one else had been forced to leave, Bourcier said.

About 100 firefighters from South and North Carolina were helping to battle the blaze, and the National Guard was returning with helicopters to make 700-gallon water drops, she said.

Firefighting efforts were concentrated on the fringes of threatened neighborhoods and golf complexes, including Burning Ridge, Myrtle Trace and Hunter's Ridge, in addition to Legends Resort.

U.S. 501, a major highway from the northwest into the area, remained open, and visibility was good, Bourcier said.

South Carolina Fire Commission workers plowed break lines Sunday.

Last year, another fire in the area consumed 1,800 acres. But the threat is greater this year, because of a drought, Bourcier said.




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