Rain helps wildfire battle

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS COUNTY — The sounds and sights of heavy rain Tuesday morning were welcome ones for those working hard to contain and extinguish the fire at Pinnacle Mountain.

The forecast called for one to two inches of rainfall between Tuesday and Wednesday. Higher relative humidity conditions helped firefighters on Monday, according to a report from the South Carolina Forestry Commission.

The rain will present its own challenges to firefighters. Officials say precipitation will hamper ongoing backburning efforts, but will allow for line reinforcement.

In a release issued Tuesday morning, officials said that Pinnacle Mountain had received more than an inch of rain overnight, providing much needed relief for firefighters and the area, which is in the middle of a drought. Another half-inch was expected through mid-day.

Crews were not being dispatched to the lines Tuesday morning due to safety concerns. Wet roads, slick terrain and soaked ground will not allow for line improvement or backburning, the release said.

If the rain abated when expected and conditions allowed Tuesday afternoon, small teams were to be sent to scout the perimeter and make fireline assessments later in the day.

firefeatAll air operations had been suspended for the day, the release said. Another inch of rain was forecast for the area Tuesday night.

On Monday, crews reported continued progress on strengthening the northern and eastern firelines. Incident command officials were encouraged that the fire remained within the containment lines.

Firefighters were also able to burn out a section just north of the Table Rock Reservoir toward Buzzard Mountain Road, as planned, further reinforcing the eastern perimeter.

Structure protection teams are staged in high-risk areas, evaluating homes for risk and mitigating those risks when possible. 112 structures in Pickens County were under threat as of Tuesday morning.

Table Rock State Park was slated to reopen Tuesday morning. All facilities and roads will be open with the exception of the Carrick Creek Trail, the Table Rock Trail, the Pinnacle Mountain Trail and the portion of the Foothills Trail that is located on Table Rock.

The trail to the Carrick Creek Falls overlook will be open, as will the Pinnacle Lake Trail.

For more information, contact the park directly at (864) 878-9813 or at

No evacuations were underway or called for as of Tuesday morning.

The fire covered 10,181 acres as of Tuesday morning. Officials said it is 57 percent contained. Estimated costs of battling the fire so far are $4.2 million.

More than 300 personnel are assigned to the fire. Nearly 40 North Carolina firefighters and support personnel are providing assistance on the northern perimeter of the fire, which crossed the state line on Sunday. While the N.C. group is not assigned to the Pinnacle Mountain fire, they’ll continue to coordinate with the Pinnacle Mountain personnel to provide ongoing support.