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April 24, 2009
Wildfire attacks South Carolina
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's biggest wildfire in more than three decades -- a blaze four miles wide -- destroyed dozens of homes Thursday and threatened some of the area's world-famous golf courses at the height of the spring tourist season. The flames, fed by tinder-dry scrubland, forced hundreds of people to flee, and some took shelter in the House of Blues honkytonk. The fire got within 1½ miles of Route 17, the main coastal road that links beachfront towns and is lined with fast-food restaurants, beachwear stores and trinket shops. By Thursday evening, the flames were about 3 miles west of the highway. The blaze scorched about 19,600 acres, or about 31 square miles, over the past two days and then veered north, heading away from the high-rise hotels that line Myrtle Beach. There were no reports of injuries, and authorities said they had not determined what sparked the flames. (20 images)

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Smoke from wildfires fill the air near North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Thursday, April 23. Myrtle Beach Sun-News / Tom Murray


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Men try to salvage belongings as a wildfire advances towards homes on April 23, near Conway, South Carolina. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford declared a state of emergency Thursday for a coastal county where a wildfire has consumed thousands of acres and destroyed dozens of homes. Getty Images / Logan Mock-Bunting



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A man sprays water on a raging fire as it threatens nearby homes on April 23, near Conway, South Carolina. Getty Images / Logan Mock-Bunting



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Two men spray water on a raging wildfire as it threatens nearby homes on April 23, near Conway, South Carolina. Getty Images / Logan Mock-Bunting



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Evacuees Larry and Janet Stewart watch the smoke billow from the wildfire that spread to the Barefoot Resort community Thursday, April 23, in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. South Carolina's biggest wildfire in more than three decades, a blaze four miles wide, destroyed dozens of homes Thursday and threatened some of the area's world-famous golf courses at the height of the spring tourist season. AP / Mary Ann Chastain



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Smoke from a wildfire is seen on South Carolina Highway 90 near Conway, S.C. on Wednesday April 22. Authorities say a wildfire whipped by high winds has destroyed a home and that walls of smoke are blowing over some of the busiest tourist spots in coastal South Carolina. Myrtle Beach Sun-News / Steve Jessmore



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A dog stays close to a burned out house on Thursday afternoon April 23, in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Myrtle Beach Sun-News / Randall Hill



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Police check ID's as residents and visitors return to their homes in the Barefoot Resort community Thursday, April 23, in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. AP / Logan Wallace



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An unidentified woman calls for her husband as a wildfire approaches Willard Road in Horry County, S.C. on Thursday, April 23. A coastal wildfire spread near one of the busiest tourist stretches in South Carolina, burning dozens of homes and forcing hundreds to flee in the middle of the night. Myrtle Beach Sun-News / Tom Murray



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A house lies in ruins on Thursday afternoon April 23, in the Barefoot Resort community in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Myrtle Beach Sun-News / Randall Hill



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The remains of a car and houses lay damaged Thursday afternoon April 23, in the Barefoot Resort community in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Myrtle Beach Sun-News / Randall Hill



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Scott Vereen, left, Paul Green, center, and Nehemiah Green pull a fire hose toward a wildfire in Horry County, S.C. on Thursday, April 23. Myrtle Beach Sun-News / Tom Murray



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Bob Lupton kisses his wife Connie as they wait at the House of Blues Red Cross center after evacuating their home in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Thursday, April 23. Myrtle Beach Sun-News / Steve Jessmore



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Firefighters work to keep a fire down after it crossed Highway 22 near North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Thursday, April 23. Myrtle Beach Sun-News / Randall Hill



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Brett Geary hoses down the roof of a home owned by Steve Price on Thursday, April 23, in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Thursday, April 23. Myrtle Beach Sun-News / Janet Blackmon Morgan



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George and Christel Hoskins talk with Myrtle Beach Fire Department Lt. Bob Horn outside the Hoskins' home on Thursday, April 23, in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Myrtle Beach Sun-News / Randall Hill



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A National Guard helicopters drops water on a fire in rural Horry County, South Carolina, on Thursday, April 23. Myrtle Beach Sun-News / Randall Hill



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A hazy sets in on Restaurant Row in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, from wildfires on Thursday, April 23. Myrtle Beach Sun-News / Steve Jessmore



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A home and car that were destroyed by a wildfire in the Barefoot Resort community are shown Thursday, April 23, in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. AP / Logan Wallace



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Smoke billows at the Grande Dunes in Myrtle Beach, S.C. on Wednesday, April 22. Myrtle Beach Sun-News / Janet Blackmon Morgan



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