RALEIGH – Because of 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 Western North
Carolina: Alexander, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland,
Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell,
Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey.
The burning ban will take effect at 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 7, and will be in effect until
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 also has been
suspended until the ban is lifted.
The ban on open burning is necessary because
of the dry weather conditions and the
potential for the increase in human-caused wildfires in the region. “Fire experts with the N.C.
Forest Service feel that with the current drought situation and the number of fires burning on
federal lands, it would be best to be proactive about preventing human-caused wildfires. And I
agree with them,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
Violation of the ban carries a $100 fine plus court costs of $180.
Here are a few facts about the law regarding the ban on open burning:
The burn 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 N.C. Forest Service has advised county fire marshals of the burning
ban and asked for their consideration of also implementing a burning ban. In addition,
other local ordinances and air quality regulations may also impact open burning.
If a fire within that 100-foot area 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 responsible for reimbursing the N.C. Forest Service for any
expenses related to extinguishing it.
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
Outdoor burning is also prohibited in areas covered by Code Orange or Code Red air
Local fire departments and law enforcement officers are assisting the N.C. Forest Service
in enforcing the burn ban.
As of Nov. 6, there had been 2,829 wildfires affecting more than
18,158 acres on state-
protected lands across North Carolina this year. More than 1,000 of those fires were in the
mountains and burned 3,375 acres. State-protected lands include state- and privately owned
Fire Prevention Education Team deployed to region
In addition to putting the burn ban in place for the state’s most western counties, the N.C.
Forest Service has also deployed a Fire Prevention Education Team to Western North Carolina in
an effort to decrease the number of human-caused wildfires there. The team is expected to arrive
this afternoon and work out of the Montreat Conference Center Assembly Hall, which is located
east of Asheville.
In addition to assisting with the information delivery for wildfires occurring in the
mountains of Western North Carolina, the team will also engage directly with communities,
distribute information and work with the media to help raise public awareness about the current
fire danger. For more information regarding the mission of the N.C. Fire Prevention Education
Team, call 919-218-3179 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.