March 5, 2021
Prescribed burns conducted by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and the S.C. Forestry commission (SCFC) on Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve in Horry County are scheduled for next week and will necessitate the periodic closure of International Drive to all traffic beginning at 10 am on Monday, March 8 and continuing through Friday, March 12. Gates controlling access to International drive may be closed or open during this time period, as conditions warrant.
Horry County government has posted public notices to inform local drivers of the pending road closures on their news and information web page.
According to SCDNR property managers, weather conditions for the upcoming week are favorable for this operation, with forecasts predicting a 4-5 day window with little rain. Humidity levels, wind speed and direction, and anticipated daily temperatures are other factors that property managers and the SCFC consider when planning for prescribed fires, also known as controlled burns, a tool used for forest management and to prevent uncontrolled wildfires by reducing the buildup of flammable fuels on the forest floor. The planned burns will be undertaken in accordance with SCFC smoke management guidelines.
Prescribed fire management at Lewis Ocean Bay promotes favorable habitat for the property's fire-dependent plants, animals, and ecosystems, including some rare, threatened and endangered species. Prescribed fire reduces fuel loads and consequently the damage associated with wildfires. When a wildfire occurs on a landscape managed with prescribed fire, there is less material to burn and therefore the fire is less likely to grow in intensity.
This planned controlled burn will require the closure of International Drive, from SC Highway 90 to Ocean Bay Elementary School, for all traffic. Road closures are expected to begin Monday, March 8th at 10:00 am. There is a possibility that the road will remain closed beginning Monday morning and reopen Friday night. Law Enforcement will be enforcing the road closure. This schedule is subject to change and is based upon the most current weather forecast. Please plan your travel accordingly. Alternate routes include: US Highway 501 and SC Highway 22.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources - Rembert C. Dennis Building 1000 Assembly Street, Columbia, SC 29201
Media Contact: David Lucas, Public Information Coordinator