Fires destroy homes, residents evacuated in North Myrtle Beach

At least 40 homes have been destroyed by fire overnight, and Gov. Mark Sanford on Thursday issued a state of emergency for Horry County.

Most of the homes were in the Barefoot Resort, which is behind Barefoot Landing.

About 2,500 people have been evacuated in the North Myrtle Beach area, west of the Intracoastal Waterway, according to Nicole Aiello, city spokeswoman.

Both Barefoot Resort and the Pelican Bay subdivisions have been evacuated.

A thick, gray smoke and ash has been reported over most of North Myrtle Beach this morning.

An estimated 8,500 acres have been burned in the blaze that started Wednesday afternoon, but that number "will probably grow this morning," according to Scot Hawkins, spokesman for S.C. Forestry Commission.

About 200 people are registered in a shelter at the North Myrtle Beach Aquatic and Fitness Center, according to Angela Nicholas, spokeswoman for the Coastal South Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross.

"This has already proved to be a devastating event for Horry County, and it isn't over," Sanford said. "This fire is continuing to spread, and it's incredibly important that people near the affected area pay close attention to emergency announcements and news outlets about developments with this disaster.''

No injuries have been reported, according to Horry County officials.

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