URGENT: Burn ban issued for 18 ENC counties including Onslow and surrounding areas

RALEIGH – Due to increased fire risk, the N.C. Forest Service has issued a ban on all open burning and canceled all burning permits for the following counties in Eastern North Carolina: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Tyrrell and Washington.

The burning ban went into effect at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, 2019, and will remain in effect until further notice. The N.C. Forest Service will continue to monitor conditions.

Under North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in the affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was issued. The issuance of any new permits has also been suspended until the ban is lifted. Violating the burn ban incurs a $100 fine plus $180 court costs. The person responsible for setting a fire may be liable for reimbursing the N.C. Forest Service for any expenses related to extinguishing it.

“The dry weather conditions these last few weeks, plus the potential for an increase in human-caused wildfires in the region, makes this ban on open burning necessary,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “During the month of May, there have been 355 wildfires statewide, covering 1,348 acres. This burn ban is a proactive step to protect lives and property by preventing human-caused wildfires.”

Local fire departments and law enforcement officers are assisting the N.C. Forest Service in enforcing the burn ban.

Yesterday Richlands VFD reported a burn barrel fire that got out of control.

Photo Courtesy: Richlands VFD

Answers to frequently asked questions

Q: What is open burning?

A: Open burning includes burning leaves, branches or other plant material. In all cases, burning trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other non-vegetative material is illegal.

Q: May I still use my grill or barbeque?

A: Yes, if no other local ordinances prohibit their use.

Q: How should I report a wildfire?

A: Call 911 to report a wildfire.

Q: My local fire marshal has also issued a burn ban for my county. What does this mean?

A: The burn ban issued by the N.C. Forest service does not apply to a fire within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. Local government agencies 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. If a fire within a 100-foot area of a dwelling 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 liable for reimbursing the N.C. Forest Service for any expenses related to extinguishing it.

Q: Are there other instances which impact open burning?

A: Local ordinances and air quality regulations may impact open burning. For instance, outdoor burning is prohibited in areas covered by Code Orange or Code Red air quality forecasts. Learn more about air quality forecasts at: https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/air-quality/air-quality-outreach-education/air-quality-forecasts

Q: Can I have a campfire when I go camping?

A: Campfires would be considered open burning and are not exempt from the burn ban. Portable gas stoves or grills are alternate methods for cooking food while camping during a burn ban.

Q: What can I do to protect my house against the risk of wildfire?

A: Learn about wildfire risk assessments and preparedness and prevention plans on the N.C. Forest Service website.

Residents with questions regarding their specific county can contact their county ranger with the N.C. Forest Service or their county fire marshal’s office.

910-347-4270 Brian Kelly, Onslow Co. Fire Marshal.

910-324-3633 Ben Patterson, Onslow Co. Ranger.

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