12/10/07 — Burning ban still in effect

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Burning ban still in effect

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on December 10, 2007 1:45 PM

RALEIGH -- State forestry officials are reminding North Carolina residents this holiday season that the ban on open burning prohibits the use of open flame such as luminarias beyond 100 feet of an occupied dwelling.

Whether it's legal to burn luminarias within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling is up to the local fire marshal. Luminarias are a popular holiday tradition that typically involves placing a lighted candle inside a paper bag.

As part of the ban on open burning, the N.C. Division of Forest Resources has also canceled all burning permits, and any new permits have been suspended until the ban is lifted.

The state has experienced more than 6,590 wildfires this year, burning more than 36,071 acres. There have been approximately 94 fires, burning more than 698 acres since Dec. 1.

By state law, the ban prohibits all open burning statewide, regardless of whether a permit was issued. In addition to a $100 fine, people in violation of the open burning ban may have to pay court costs.

The following are a few facts about the law regarding the ban on open burning:

*The ban does not apply to a fire within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. County fire marshals have jurisdiction of burning within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. A campsite (for example a tent, recreational vehicle, pop-up trailer, etc.) is not considered an occupied dwelling.

*The burn ban does not allow for cooking fires beyond the 100 foot area of an occupied dwelling. Cooking is allowed using an enclosed grill or outdoor cooker.

*If a fire within that 100-foot area escapes containment, a North Carolina forest ranger may take reasonable steps to extinguish or control the fire. The person responsible for setting the fire may be responsible for reimbursing the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources for any expenses related to putting it out.

*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.