The 1976 Horry County forest fire consumed approximately 37,000 acres of woodlands. The burned area was located in the northeastern coastal plain of South Carolina with the boundary being generally based on a triangle where the northern boundary is S. C. Highway 90, the southern boundary is the intracoastal waterway, and the western boundary is Highway 501. It burned for a total of six days before being pronounced out on April 15, 1976. A trail of smoke could be seen at one time rising to the northeast for 40 miles over North Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean. This area was dominated by forests even though there were very few high-quality timbered areas. Included in this area are three distinct forest types, the Carolina Bays, with their evergreen shrub bogs or 'pine pocosins', the -cypress-tupelo gum, and the old beach sandy ridges that would probably naturally climax to oak-hickory, but currently are being managed for southern pines.
The day after the fire was declared out, color infrared aerial photographs were taken of this area. From these aerial photos, a planimetric map was made and an overlay was constructed classifying the area into unburned, slightly burned, moderately burned, and intensively burned, based on image color and density. Intensively burned areas were found to be totally charred and had very little reflectance. They appeared blue to black in the color infrared photographs. Moderately burned areas contained some mortality and considerable scorched vegetation when appeared blue to green on the photographs. Slightly burned areas had no mortality but had some signs of scorching in the crown and burned understory material. It appeared green with shades of red throughout, while unburned areas appeared red.
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