After several weeks of rain and Tuesday’s snow in the mountains, U. S. Forest Service officials are lifting the campfire ban in the National Forests in North Carolina; the state also has lifted its burning ban.
Within the city of Asheville, open burning is not allowed, except for small campfires or with a burning permit. Because of the lifted bans, the city is now accepting burning-permit applications for review and approval. The Asheville Fire and Rescue Department will continue to monitor conditions and reinstitute the burning ban locally should weather conditions deteriorate.
Debris burning is the number one cause of wildfires in North Carolina and trash burning is illegal within the Asheville city limits. Asheville Fire and Rescue also still urges citizens to be extremely careful if they choose to use outdoor grills or recreational fires.
“Although the burning ban is lifted … people still need to practice caution when building campfires in the national forests,” said Diane Bolt, fire planner for the National Forests in North Carolina.
Even with December’s heavy rainfall, the National Forests in North Carolina are still in drought conditions.
“We will continue to monitor weather conditions and may have to reinstate the national forest burning ban if this wet weather pattern ceases,” said Bolt.
A statewide burning ban in national forests took affect in August. The ban included all campfires. The only fires excluded were those set in fire pits, grills or fire rings in Forest Service-established campgrounds or picnic areas.
— Hal L. Millard, staff writer