Open burning banned in east

Published 12:30 am Thursday, June 23, 2011

N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Dee Freeman has banned open burning and canceled all burning permits for 27 eastern North Carolina counties, including areas south of U.S. Highway 64 and east of Interstate 95.

The ban on open burning will be in effect until further notice for the following counties: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Greene, Hyde, Johnson, Jones, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Tyrrell, Washington, Wayne and Wilson.

State authorities say the open burning ban is necessary because of drought conditions and an increase in wildfire activity in coastal North Carolina. Firefighters and others are battling large wildfires in Dare, Bladen and Pender counties. Much of the rest of the state is dry, but periodic rainfall has helped reduce fire activity in those areas.

By North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in these areas, regardless of whether a permit was issued. 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 nonvegetative materials.

The ban will be enforced by local law-enforcement agents, county fire marshals and the N.C. Division of Forest Resources.

The open-burning ban means all burning is prohibited if it is 100 feet or more from a home or residence that someone lives in.

For more information, contact a county ranger with the N.C. Division of Forest Resources, the local county fire marshal’s office or Brian Haines, public information officer with the Division of Forest Resources, at 919-857-4828 or 919-218-9728.