A statewide burning ban went into effect Monday in North Carolina.
In addition to the statewide burning ban, local bans have also been put in place for Lincoln, Gaston, Catawba, Cleveland, and some other counties. The expanded burning ban means that all burning is prohibited regardless of distance from a structure.
This ban does not apply to cooking fires such as grills or outdoor cookers and heating fires. These type fires may only be conducted in approved and tested devices.
Prohibited 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.
NC Forest Service With Lincoln Herald Staff
Due to increased fire risk, the North Carolina Forest Service has issued a ban on all open burning and has canceled all burning permits statewide. The Burning Ban became effective at 5 PM Monday (Nov. 29th) and will be in effect 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 burning 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 Forest Service in enforcing the burning ban.
The NC Forest Service will continue to monitor conditions.
A fire at Pilot Mountain State Park has consumed over 500 acres of woodland. The fire was first reported Saturday shortly before 5 PM. The Pilot Knob Fire Dept. quickly realized they needed help and other departments were called in. Firefighters from other counties have joined in the effort to contain the fire in Surry County. While the cause hasn't been fully determined, the Forest Service indicated that whether accidentally or intentionally, the fire was caused by someone.
Other grass and woods fires have been reported elsewhere in the state. Denver and East Lincoln firefighters have had a couple of fires in eastern Lincoln County over the weekend and Monday morning. A week ago Friday (Nov. 19th) North Brook, Union and Howard's Creek departments fought a woods fire on Leonhardt Road.
Drought or near-drought conditions continue across most of the state. Locally, no rain is in the forecast through next weekend.