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.

MISSING: 15-year-old Arli Hernandez reported missing Wednesday out of New Hanover

New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office needs the public’s help finding a missing teen.

Sheriff’s office says Arli Noemi Bamaca Hernandez, age 15, was reported missing Wednesday, April 24th.

She was last seen at 5140 Carolina Beach Road, according to NHSO.

She is 5’4″ and weighs around 130 pounds. Arli has brown eyes and long brown hair. She was last seen wearing black shirt, light blue pants, and red high-top Vans sneakers.

She attends Wilmington Early College.

If you know any information in regards to her whereabouts, contact NHSO.

A New Hanover man faces cruelty charges after shooting a neighbors dog

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office announced in a press release there was an made an arrest this week for felony cruelty to animals.

Photo Credit: StarNews Online- Alex Hollinger

On March 29th an Animal Service Unit investigator went to a home located at 444 Horn Rd. at the request of the owner of a dog who had passed away. The owner, Leigh West, learned from the veterinarian that her dog Gibson, had passed away due to metal projectiles in the dog’s body causing deadly harm.

The ASU investigator began her investigation which led to the next-door neighbor living at 448 Horn Rd. Alex Christian Hollinger was interviewed and the ASU investigator charged him with four counts of felony cruelty to animals. Hollinger was arrested and processed at the New Hanover County Detention Facility where he received a $25,000 unsecured bond and had a first appearance in court this past Monday afternoon at 2pm.

UPDATE: Catch & Release- Charges dismissed by the District Attorney where a Wilmington man was charged for abandoning a pet fish

The New Hanover District Attorney, Benjamin (Ben) David reportedly announced in a press release Tuesday that charges against a Wilmington man accused and charged with animal cruelty for abandoning his pet fish have been dismissed.

DA David stated, “We take a very dim view of anyone who would abuse any creature great or small and appreciate the enforcement of the laws to protect vulnerable animals.”, WECT reported.

 New Hanover DA David says that fish aren’t protected under the statute and all three charges dismissed.


(Wilmington, NC)-

A New Hanover County man faces animal cruelty charges after he allegedly abandoning a pet fish following eviction from his home last month.

Michael Ray Hinson, 53, was charged Wednesday with three counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals and one count of abandonment of an animal. He was released on a $4,000 unsecured bond.

Long finned Oscar fish

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office said Hinson was evicted on Friday, March 22, and when deputies went to the home a few days later, they found he had left behind an Oscar fish that was in poor health and swimming in a dirty tank.

WPD: Two men arrested on robbery & assault of a homeless family and a couple


Two Wilmington men are facing armed robbery, breaking and entering and assault charges for violent acts over the weekend.

Suspects arrested

Witnesses say the men robbed a homeless family at the AmeriStay Inn on Market Street and then robbed a couple in the parking lot of the Golden Corral on New Centre Drive just before 7pm on Friday, the evening of March 15th.

During the confrontation at the Golden Corral one of the victims was cut on the hand. Police were able to get a description of the suspects and vehicle and located 28 year old, Glenn Harry Bowen and 27 year old, Robert James Sansbury at an apartment off Emory Street. Both men were taken into custody.

Both Bowen and Sansbury have a criminal history involving violent crimes such as robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Glenn Bowen

Bowen was prior convicted of robbery with a dangerous weapon, drug related offenses and stolen goods.

Robert J. Sansbury

Sansbury was prior convicted of two hit and runs, resisting arrest, assault on a government officer and a number of other charges.

UPDATE: #FOUND SAFE MISSING SENIOR: Wilmington PD asks public help locating 85-year-old Donald Calder

MISSING: 85 yo Donald Walter Calder 5’04”, 200 lbs, grey hair, brown eyes, may have a small suitcase, left family’s house in 300 block of Pinecliff Dr sometime this evening. Use Text-a-Tip or call 910-343-3609. https://t.co/K7lj6nDyrK

MISSING: Police are looking for a missing 21-year-old Wilmington woman

Wilmington police are looking for a missing woman who was reportedly last seen around 1am Friday, Feb. 15th on Carnation Ct.

MISSING: Calquana Victoria Maynor

Age: 21

Height: 5’3″

Weight: 115 pounds

Eyes: Brown

Hair: Black

Other identifying characteristics: Tattoo of a ladybug on front thigh, tattoo of a heart on her hand.

Contact WPD at 910.343.3609 or use Text A Tip if you have info.

UPDATED: #ARRESTED Wells Fargo and Circle K robbery suspect identified in Wilmington and Leland as the same man


Wilmington Police charged Elijah Muhammad McFarland, 35, with robbery with a dangerous weapon Friday morning.

A WPD officer on patrol in the 700 block of Church Street recognized McFarland riding a bicycle in the area, confirmed he was the suspect and arrested him for his role in the robbery of the Wells Fargo on South College Street Thursday.

McFarland is currently being held at the New Hanover County Jail on a $300,000 bond. He received a $150,000 bond for the Wilmington robbery, and $150,000 bond for the Brunswick County incident.

Double robbery suspect has been identified as 25-year-old, Elijah Mahammad McFarland who is wanted in a Wells Fargo bank robbery on S. College Rd. Wilmington as well as a convenience store robbery in Leland. The suspect is seen in images wearing the same outfit on both occasions, unmasked.

WPD officials reported that the suspect passed a note to the teller demanding money. He reportedly claimed to have a weapon but never displayed it.

Wells Fargo S. College Rd. Wilmington robbery image

Brunswick Co. Sheriff’s Office also released information via social media identifying the same man in a robbery at a convenience store in Leland where he is WANTED for robbery with a dangerous weapon. This particular incident occurred at around 10pm on 02/13/19 at the Circle K convenience store located at 7806 Ocean Hwy E, in Leland. BCSO stated, “Subject entered the store, told the clerk he had a gun in his pocket and demanded money. He fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.”

BCSO image of suspect
Circle K Robbery Images (LELAND)

No one was injured during the incident.

The suspect is described as a 25 year old black man with a goatee, 5’4”, 130 pounds. He was wearing a flat-rimmed white baseball hat, a red jacket, blue jeans and tan boots. Anyone with information is asked to contact WPD at 910.343.3609 or use Text A Tip.

Anyone with information on the Leland incident should conact Det. Hester at 910-713-8360.