What's causing that nasty smoke in the air on I-77?

(Source: SCFC)
(Source: SCFC)
(Source: SCFC)
(Source: SCFC)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Two controlled burns are causing smoke to fill the air near Interstate 77, and it's centered around a fire in an undeveloped portion of a subdivision.

South Carolina Forestry Commission and Columbia-Richland Fire Department personnel are fighting an approximately 50-acre wildfire that started yesterday to the north of an undeveloped portion of the Ashley Oaks subdivision in Blythewood.

The low-intensity fire is approximately 60 percent contained, and no structures are threatened. Five Forestry Commission personnel are on the scene, including two tractor plow units; Columbia-Richland Fire also has dispatched several firefighters, including one brush truck and one engine.

SCFC firefighters have bulldozed firebreaks around the northern and western sides of the fire, tying into several ponds on the north and a wide paved road on the south. CFD personnel is spraying the established containment lines with water, patrolling the lines and standing by to offer structure protection in the unlikely event the fire jumped the firebreaks.

SCFC Incident Commander Sam St. Louis said Forestry Commission bulldozers are now installing firebreaks on the eastern side of the fire, using a combination of hand crews and bulldozers to encircle the fire and ultimately contain it within those lines. "We have good firelines around most of the area," he said. "With the work that we do today on the right side, we feel good about our ability to contain the fire completely and protect the homes just south of us."

The fire started Thursday and left much of Blythewood blanketed in smoke. This incident is unrelated to two prescribed fires – one on Tuesday, another Thursday – that were conducted nearby.

The cause has not been determined and will be investigated after the fire is 100 percent contained.

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