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Wednesday afternoon wildfire near Gaston consumes several structures and about 40 acres of land

Gaston, SC 06/27/2024 (Paul Kirby) – A wildfire that was first reported as smoke in the area consumed several structures and approximately 40 acres of land Wednesday afternoon. The fire started just after 3:00 p.m. and was first reported in the 400 block of Main Street (Hwy 321 South) in the vicinity of Gaston Gardens and New Hope Church.


The firefighters had trouble accessing the point of origin with their equipment as it was burning across two-rut sand roads that it was quickly jumping. When the first crews did arrive, the fire had already spread to several structures that it was quickly consuming. The SC Forestry Commission responded with 2 tractor-plow units that began to try and encircle the fast moving fire with a dirt break in hopes of stopping its forward movement.

More firefighters and equipment were dispatched to the scene as the ambient temperatures soared above the 100-degree mark. The situation was further exacerbated as the crews had to rely on water tankers because there were no fire hydrants in the immediate vicinity. At one point, Chief Stephen Watkins of the Gaston Police Department had to close Highway 321 south as firefighters connected hoses to their tanker trucks to refill them with water.


At one point at the height of the fire, the incident commander gave the order to stop putting water on the structures that were already fully involved.  This allowed them to conserve the water they had on hand to focus on stopping the fires forward momentum.


Although the fire was brought under control after several hours, it still took the firefighters until approximately 7:30 p.m. to put out all the hotspots. The SC Forestry Commission estimated that approximately 40 acres of land burned along with the several structures that were destroyed. They believe the cause of the fire was unattended outdoor debris burning.


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