While Horry County may not technically be rural, it is an important employer for rural persons in South Carolina, who often commute long distances to work in the huge coastal tourist industry. South Carolina's unemployment rate at its highest levels since the early 1980s and the economy leads experts to predict shortfalls in pleasure travel for the coming tourist season. Overall human costs could spread beyond those families unfortunate enough to have been in the direct path of the fire.
There is also a "critter cost." Not many people outside of South Carolina know about the "Carolina Bays," mentioned in the news feeds as a source of peat and other vegetation that kept the fire burning and make it difficult to extinguish. The Bays are not offshoots of the ocean, but shallow depressions scattered across the landscape that form mini-wetlands; a rich and unique feature of the Carolina landscape. [For more information, see http://www.dnr.sc.gov/managed/heritage/lewisbay/description.htmlor http://www.srel.edu/outreach/edpubs/carolinabays.html] While the Bays evolved experiencing periodic fires, bulldozers creating firebreaks are not something the trees & critters are prepared for.