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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FRIDAY, JULY 1, 2011

CONTACT: Brian R. Haines, public information officer
N.C. Forest Service
(919) 218-9728

Ban on open burning for eastern N.C. still in effect; be careful with fireworks

Map of burn ban area

Click on map to download a higher-resolution version.

RALEIGH — Authorities with the N.C. Forest Service want to remind people there is a ban on all open burning for Dare, Tyrell and Washington counties as well as all areas south of Highway 64 and east of Interstate 95. The ban went into effect June 22 and will remain in effect until further notice.

N.C. Forest Service officials are also encouraging people to celebrate this Independence Day by viewing public fireworks displays rather than taking the risk of setting wildfires by lighting their own fireworks.

The open burning ban means that all burning is prohibited if it is 100 feet or more from an occupied dwelling. An occupied dwelling is a home or residence where somebody lives. Some municipalities have enacted their own bans on open burning within that 100-foot area. Residents should check with their local fire department before planning any burn. The open burning ban is being enforced by local law enforcement agents, county fire marshals and the N.C. Forest Service.

The ban on open burning and the fireworks caution are necessary because of dry weather and an increase in fire activity in the coastal region of the state. Currently, resources from around the state and nation are combating large wildfires in Bladen, Pender and Sampson counties. Management of the Pains Bay fire in Dare County has transitioned back to local resources. 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 non-vegetative materials.

Many of the wildfires that occur this time of year are from the careless use of popular Fourth of July fireworks such as sparklers, fountains, glow worms, smoke devices, trick noisemakers and other Class C fireworks. Enjoying a public display of fireworks limits the potential for wildfires that can easily erupt in dry conditions from the careless or poorly planned use of fireworks by individuals.

If people choose to take the risk of using their own fireworks, here are some simple ways to help keep the holiday safe:

  • Don’t use fireworks such as ground spinners, firecrackers, round spinners, Roman candles, bottle rockets and mortars, which are not legal in North Carolina.
  • Do not use fireworks near woods, brush, grass or any combustible material.
  • Make sure fireworks are always used with adult supervision.
  • Follow the instructions provided with the fireworks.
  • Do not use under the influence of alcohol.
  • Always use in a large open, preferably paved, area or near a body of water.
  • Have a rake or shovel as well as a bucket or two of water on hand.
  • Monitor the area for several hours after use.

There are more homes being built in North Carolina’s wooded areas, and officials with the N.C. Forest Service stress the need to take extra precautions to prevent wildfires in residential areas. In addition to taking measures to use fireworks safely, campfires or grills should never be left unattended and should never be started with gasoline.

It is also important when disposing of ashes to never put them in a paper bag or other flammable container but in an outside metal container, or bury them in mineral soil in your garden. If you live in an area with organic soils, remember they can catch fire. Never store ashes in your garage, on your deck or in a wooded area. Remember to double-check the ashes and coals before throwing them away to make sure they won’t start a fire.

For more information, contact Brian Haines at (919) 218-9728. Citizens can also contact a county ranger with the N.C. Forest Service or the county fire marshal’s office.

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NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Brian Long, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3005; FAX: (919) 733-5047

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