Graniteville brush fire evacuees can return home

Graniteville brush fire evacuees can return home
Traffic blocked on I-20 due to brush fires (Source: Sydni Moore)

AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WFXG) - A large brush fire along I-20 in Aiken County caused homes to be evacuated Tuesday afternoon.

At around 2:15 p.m., units from the GVW Fire Department responded to the fire, a few miles past the Bettis Academy Rd. exit. The fire grew at a rapid pace, requiring GVW Fire to call in assistance from other fire departments. A Code Red was sent out, notifying residents within 1 mile of the fire to evacuate.

The head of the fire was last reported near Rebel Rd. and all the way up to S.C. Hwy. 19. As of 7:40 p.m., the fire is about 50% contained. No homes have been reported damaged and no injuries reported.

A traffic detour has been put in place while crews work to contain the remaining fire.

  • I-20 East to I-520 to US 1 North in North Augusta
  • US 1 to SC 118 (Rudy Mason Parkway) to US 1 North (York Ave) to I-20 East (Exit 22)

Red Cross opened a temporary shelter for evacuees at Aiken First Baptist Church. “We are in constant communication with local Emergency Management to make sure the needs of anyone needing to evacuate are met” said Louise Welch Williams, Regional Red Cross CEO.

Just after 9:30 p.m., officials lifted the evacuation order. Residents who fled the area can now return home. Law enforcement at the detour checkpoints will be letting residents through. They are asking that anyone who does not live in the area, do not drive through.

We are asking our citizens for their continued patience while we are working in the affected areas.
Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt

A command center has been set up at the Pilot Travel Center on Bettis Academy Rd. just off I-20. Red Cross is on the scene providing water to first responders.

At this time, it’s still unknown what sparked the fire. Officials on the scene tell FOX 54 the dry conditions and high temperatures could be to blame. Winds reportedly caused the fire to spread.

We are grateful for the assistance that we have received from residence in the affected areas. We will continue our work until we are have determined that the fire is contained and manageable.
GVW Fire Chief

Fire departments and law enforcement agencies from across Aiken County responded to the fire, including GVW Fire Department, Sage Mill Fire Department, Langley Fire Department, Belvedere Fire Department, Aiken Department of Public Safety, Merriwether Fire Department, County Line Fire Department, Eureka Fire Department, SC Forestry Commission, USDA Forest Service, Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, Aiken Department of Public Safety, Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, South Carolina Highway Patrol, Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office, Aiken County Code Enforcement, and North Augusta Department of Public Safety

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