Area residents who had planned to burn their raked leaves will have to find another way to dispose of this year’s fallen foliage due to a recent state ban on controlled outdoor fires.
On Monday, the N.C. Forest Service enacted a statewide prohibition on all open burns in response to the heightened risk of wildfires caused by an ongoing dry spell that has afflicted the state.
“It is fall wildfire season in North Carolina, and we are seeing wildfire activity increase due to dry conditions,” the state’s agriculture commissioner Steve Troxler said when his office announced the ban on behalf of the forest service. “With these ongoing conditions, a statewide burn ban is necessary to reduce the risk of fires starting and spreading quickly. Our top priority is always to protect lives, property, and forestland across the state.”
According to the forest service, this statewide ban applies to all controlled burns that occur more than 100 feet from an occupied dwelling. This prohibition extends, but is not limited, to campfires, fire pits, and outdoor fireplaces in addition to the incineration of yard waste. The forest service notes that state law already forbids the incineration of “non-vegetative” matter, such as trash, tires, and plastics, as well as newspapers and lumber.
Although the state forest service has no jurisdiction over fires set within 100 of a residence, it has asked the fire marshals in each county to enforce the burn ban in these areas as well.
According to Burlington’s fire department, the forest service’s request has been taken up by the fire marshals in both Alamance and Guilford counties, who have issued burn bans of their own alongside the statewide prohibition. The city’s fire department added that the impact of these bans will be rather marginal for residents who live inside of Burlington’s municipal limits.
“As a reminder,” the fire department stressed in a statement on Tuesday, “outdoor burning of yard debris including leaves is always prohibited in the city limits of Burlington.”