Burn ban issued statewide

Published 7:07 pm Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Due to increased fire risk, the North Carolina Forest Service issued a ban on all open burning and has canceled all burning permits statewide effective at 5 p.m. Nov. 29, 2021, until further notice.

“It is fall wildfire season in North Carolina, and we are seeing wildfire activity increase due to dry conditions,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “With these ongoing conditions, a statewide burn ban is necessary to reduce the risk of fires starting and spreading quickly. Our top priority is always to protect lives, property and forestland across the state.”

Under North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in the affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was previously issued. The issuance of any new permits has also been suspended until the ban is lifted. Anyone violating the burn ban faces a $100 fine plus $183 court costs. Any person responsible for setting a fire may be liable for any expenses related to extinguishing the fire.

Local fire departments and law enforcement officers are assisting the N.C. Forest Service in enforcing the burn ban.

The N.C. Forest Service will continue to monitor conditions. Residents with questions regarding a specific county can contact their N.C. Forest Service county ranger or their county fire marshal’s office.

The burn ban issued by the N.C. Forest service does not apply to a fire within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. Local government agencies have jurisdiction over open burning within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling.

The N.C. Forest Service has advised county fire marshals of the burning ban and has asked for their consideration of also implementing a burning ban. If a fire within a 100-foot area of a dwelling escapes containment, a North Carolina forest ranger may take reasonable steps to extinguish or control it. The person responsible for setting the fire may be liable for any expenses related to extinguishing the fire.

Dare County is expected to issue a burn ban covering the area within 100 feet of a dwelling, but it had not been issued as of press time.

Open burning includes burning leaves, branches or other plant material. In all cases, burning trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other non-vegetative material is illegal.

Grills or barbecues may be used if no local ordinances prohibit use.

To report a wildfire, call 911. To report a person intentionally starting a wildfire call 911.

Campfires are considered open burning and are not exempt from the burn ban. During a burn ban, portable gas stoves or grills are alternate methods for cooking food while camping.

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