OAK ISLAND — A tradition in Oak Island is going strong, according to numbers released by town officials. Each December, as the year closes out, Oak Island residents and visitors often take to the shore to light a bonfire and ring in the new year.
The first days of 2023 will come with mild temperatures in the high 60s/low 70s, with a low of 54 on New Year’s Eve — a week after one of the coldest Christmases on record across the state. As such, Oak Island town officials said it’s experienced a record number of bonfire permits. It processed 165 over the last seven days and more than 100 in the last 24 hours.
“More are expected as New Year’s Eve and Day approaches,” it noted in a release.
The town and Oak Island Fire Department are reminding the public of fire safety rules to follow this weekend as flames are lit along the town’s stretch of the Atlantic. Bonfires are only allowed to be 4-feet-by-4-feet in size at most, easily manageable by one person.
Materials used as kindling must consist only of natural, untreated wood. Manufactured products, lumber, gasoline, diesel, tires or other fuels are not allowed to ignite the flames.
If winds pick up beyond 15 miles per hour at the time of the fire, it must be extinguished. An “ABC Type II” fire extinguisher, bucket of water, shovel to cover the fire with sand, or a different sufficient device should be handy at all times in the event the fire needs to be put out.
Fires must be fully extinguished before exiting the beach, with materials removed, including trash, debris and unburned wood.
“Do not simply cover the fire to extinguish it, as this can still smolder and seriously injure the feet of any person or animal who walks across the burn site,” the town noted in a release.
It’s also important for a person at the site to have a phone handy to contact 911 as needed at anytime.
All questions and concerns can be directed to 910-278-1000. Permit applications are accessible here and must be submitted 72 hours ahead of planned bonfire date; the permit is required to be accessible while on site. Bonfire season lasts through April 30.
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