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State imposes burning ban again because of wind, dry air

RALEIGH ó The N.C. Division of Forest Resources has imposed a statewide ban on all open burning and canceled all burning permits effective at noon Thursday, due to the red flag warning imposed by the National Weather Service.
The red flag warning, which was issued due to high winds and unusually dry air, is in place from noon until 9 p.m. statewide. The ban on open burning will remain in effect until conditions improve.
Under North Carolina law (G.S. 113-60.25 and 113.60.27), the ban prohibits all open burning statewide or in the affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was issued.
A red flag warning is imposed when relative humidities are less than 25 percent, sustained winds reach at least 20 mph and forest fuels are dry.
North Carolina is also experiencing an increase in fire activity statewide. There were 81 wildfires Wednesday affecting more than 1,386 acres across North Carolina, including a nearly 1,300-acre wildfire in New Hanover County and a 100-acre fire in Stokes County that threatened 15 homes. There have been 1,842 fires this year that have burned more than 18,248 acres statewide.
The issuance of any new permits has been suspended until the ban is lifted. In addition to the $100 fine, people in violation of the open burning ban will have to pay for court costs.
The following are a few facts about the law regarding the ban on open burning:
– The 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 Division of Forest Resources has advised county fire marshals across the state of the burning ban and asked for them to consider implementing a burning ban for their local jurisdictions. In addition, other local ordinances and air quality regulations may impact open burning.
– It does prohibit campfires and the use of luminaries outside of the 100-foot area.
– If a fire within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling escapes containment, a North Carolina forest ranger may take reasonable steps to extinguish or control the fire. The person responsible for setting the fire may be responsible for reimbursing the N.C. Department of Natural Resources for any expenses related to extinguishing that fire.
– 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 departments and law enforcement officers as well as officers with the N.C. Wildlife Resource Commission are helping the N.C. Division of Forest Resources enforce the burn ban.
For more information, contact Chris Carlson at (919) 733-2162, ext. 262 or (919) 210-5013, or Brian Haines at (919) 218-9728. Residents can also contact a county ranger with the Division of Forest Resources or the local county fire marshal’s office.

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