RALEIGH, NC — On Monday, the NC Agriculture Commissioner announced 22 more counties that have been placed under a burn ban in western North Carolina.
Commissioner Steve Troxler banned open burning and canceled all burn permits in the counties of Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Cabarrus, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Randolph, Richmond, Rockingham, Rowan, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Union, Wilkes and Yadkin counties.
According to a release posted to the NC Department of Agriculture’s website, the ban will go into effect at 5pm today and last until further notice.
“Fire experts with the N.C. Forest Service feel the current drought situation and the increase in available forest fuels makes it necessary to increase the number of counties under the burn ban,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We want to be proactive in our approach and take appropriate action to prevent the potential for human-caused wildfires.”
All open burning has been prohibited, whether currently granted a permit or not, and issuance of all new permits has been suspended until the ban is lifted. Violations will include fines of $100 plus a court cost of $180.
The Department of Agriculture also included some facts and guidelines regarding the ban on open burning:
- The burn ban does not apply to cooking fires such as grills or outdoor cookers.
- The ban does not apply to a fire within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. County fire marshals 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 asked for their consideration of also implementing a burning ban. In addition, other local ordinances and air quality regulations may also impact open burning.
- If a fire within that 100-foot area 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 responsible for reimbursing the N.C. Forest Service for any expenses related to extinguishing it.
- Open burning includes burning leaves, branches and other plant material. In all cases, it is illegal to burn trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other non-vegetative materials.
- Outdoor burning is also prohibited in areas covered by Code Orange or Code Red air quality forecasts.
Local fire and police departments are assisting the N.C. Forest Service in enforcing the burn ban.
All counties now under a burn ban include Alexander, Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Caswell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Gaston, Graham, Guilford, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Montgomery, Polk, Randolph, Richmond, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Union, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin and Yancey.