Press release from City of Asheville:
Due to increased fire risk, the N.C. Forest Service has issued a ban on all open burning and has canceled all burning permits statewide (ALL counties) which went into effect at 5 p.m., 11/29/2021 and remains in effect until further notice. Due to the low humidity, lack of rain, and higher winds the Asheville Fire Department has seen an increase in brush fire-related incidents. Following the guidance of the N.C. Forest Service, the City of Asheville Fire Marshal’s Office is issuing a burn ban within the city limits of Asheville effective immediately and will remain in effect until further notice. This includes small recreational fires such as those used in backyard fire pits. We will continue to monitor conditions in our area.
“It is fall wildfire season in North Carolina, and we are seeing wildfire activity increase due to dry conditions,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “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.”
Under North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in the affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was previously issued. The issuance of any new permits has also been suspended until the ban is lifted. Anyone violating the burn ban faces fines and additionally may be liable for any expenses related to extinguishing the fire.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.
Q: What is open burning?
A: Open burning includes burning leaves, branches or other plant material. In all cases, burning trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other nonvegetative material is illegal.
Q: Can someone still use a grill or barbecue?
Q: How should someone report a wildfire or illegal open burning?
A: Call 911.
Q: If the local fire marshal has also issued a burn ban. What does this mean?
A: The burn ban issued by N.C. Forest Service does not apply to a fire within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. Local government agencies have jurisdiction over open burning within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. The N.C. Forest Service has advised county fire marshals of the burning ban and has asked for their consideration of also implementing a burning ban. If a fire within a 100-foot area of a dwelling escapes containment, a North Carolina forest ranger may take reasonable steps to extinguish or control it. The person responsible for setting the fire may be liable for any expenses related to extinguishing the fire.
Q: Are there other instances that impact open burning?
A: Local ordinances and air quality regulations may impact open burning. For instance, outdoor burning is prohibited in areas covered by Code Orange or Code Red air quality forecasts. Learn more about air quality forecasts at https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/air-quality/air-quality-outreach-education/air-quality-forecasts.
Q: Can someone have a campfire when out camping?
A: Campfires would be considered open burning and are not exempt from the burn ban. During a burn ban, portable gas stoves or grills are alternate methods for cooking food while camping.
Q: What can I do to protect my house against the risk of wildfire?
A: Learn about wildfire risk assessments and preparedness and prevention plans on N.C. Forest Service website at https://www.ncforestservice.gov/fire_control/fc_wui.htm or https://www.resistwildfirenc.org/.