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Coast fire "100 percent contained"

State fire officials are reporting the North Myrtle Beach fire is now 100 percent contained.

Despite fog curtailing most state Forestry Commission activity overnight, calm winds have been a boon, spokesman Scott Hawkins said.

Controlled vs. Contained: The fire is 100% contained, but will not be labeled "controlled" until there is no longer any heat produced anywhere inside the line.

S.C. Forestry Commission spokesman Scott Hawkins

Firefighters still are working on hot spots, particularly on Long Bay and Water Tower roads. While contained, meaning no longer spreading, the fire will not be considered "controlled" until there is no longer any heat produced anywhere inside the burn area, Hawkins said.

Forestry Commission crews are being deactivated with the exception of those retained for mop-up and fire-line reinforcement, Hawkins said.

Airplanes will continue to monitor the fire area, but firefighting drops of water or other fire retardant have ceased.

"Mop-up" work involve heavy equipment, and Hawkins warned onlookers to stay far away since equipment operators have limited visibility.

While contained, the wildfire continues to smoke and flare up, a condition that could last through the summer if significant rain does not extinguish the smoldering areas, Hawkins said. Stumps, snags and fuel-laden soil can feed the fire. Pine needles dropped on smoldering peat could reignite the fire, for example, he said.

The smoke will continue to be a hazard to motorists, so roads in the area are subject to closure.

-- From staff reports

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