SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Extremely dry conditions across North Carolina has led the N.C. Forest Service to issue a statewide ban on all open burning and cancel burning permits as of Monday, Nov. 29, 5 p.m. The ban comes amid the state’s wildfire season, with greater risks for fire spread from little rainfall and increased winds.
The danger is compounded locally by abnormally and moderate drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The greater Wilmington area hasn’t experienced a November this dry since 2007.
“With these ongoing conditions, a statewide burn ban is necessary to reduce the risk of fires starting and spreading quickly,” N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in the press release. “Our top priority is always to protect lives, property and forestland across the state.”
Pender County Fire Marshal’s Office instituted its burn ban effective Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 8 a.m., which extends within 100 feet of all residential structures. The ban is effective Monday, 5 p.m., in unincorporated areas of Brunswick County (areas not within city limits) and in the Town of Leland, according to press releases sent by both local governments.
“The burn ban issued by the N.C. Forest service does not apply to a fire within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling,” the fire service explained in a press release. “Local government agencies have jurisdiction over open burning within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling.”
Open burning includes burning leaves, branches or other plant material, including fire pits and campfires (burning trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other non-vegetative material is illegal). The ban does not include the use of charcoal or gas grills; however, authorities encourage extra precautions be taken when using outdoor grills.
The burn ban will remain in place until further notice and affects all permits, regardless whether one was issued before the ban. Violations will come with a $100 fine plus $183 in court costs, and if it leads to fire spread, the person responsible will be liable for covering 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.
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