Press release from Buncombe County:
Due to recent rainfall in our area, decreasing wind speeds, and higher humidity, the Local State of Emergency issued for Buncombe County on Nov. 6 is terminated effective Thursday, Nov. 23 at 8 a.m. The Local State of Emergency is also terminated in the municipal limits of the City of Asheville, Town of Weaverville, Town of Woodfin, Town of Montreat, and the Town of Biltmore Forest. The Town of Black Mountain remains under a Local State of Emergency.
The termination of the Local State of Emergency does not affect any open burning restrictions put in place by the Buncombe County Fire Marshal pursuant to the Buncombe County Fire Prevention and Protection Ordinance contained in Chapter 30 of the Buncombe County Code of Ordinances.
Food preparation and cooking fires have not been included in any ban issued. This includes grills, smokers, and turkey fryers. All leaf, debris, yard waste, and land clearing burns remain under an open burning ban under the Fire Prevention Ordinance. While the Forest Service has lifted their bans on open burning in Western North Carolina effective for 5 p.m. today, our local ban remains in place and takes precedence over the Forest Service actions.
The ban on outdoor recreational fires contained in rings, pits, chimenea devices, outdoor fireplaces, and stoves is lifted effective Thursday, Nov. 23 at 8 a.m. Importantly, fires must be contained, constantly attended, and smaller than three feet in diameter and height.
While the burn ban has been relaxed, the Buncombe County Fire Marshal would like to remind the community of the importance of fire safety in and around the house. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, cooking fires in residential buildings occurred more often on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year.
Reduce your risk of a Thanksgiving fiasco with simple steps inside and outside of the home. Fire safety officials advise the community to abide by these fire prevention steps:
- Never leave your stove unattended. Be sure to keep a fire extinguisher nearby and ensure that it is the correct type of fire extinguisher and how to properly use it.
- Never try to put out a grease fire with water. Instead, smother it by sliding a lid over the pan, turn off the stovetop, and leave the pan covered until it’s completely cooled. In case of oven or microwave fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed until the flames are completely out. If you cannot safely extinguish a fire, get outside quickly, close the door behind you to contain the fire, and call 9-1-1.
- Turkey fryers can be especially dangerous if not handled correctly. When using a turkey fryer, it is important to take extreme caution to avoid any fire hazards.
- Keep the turkey fryer at least 10 feet away from your home and not under roof eaves. Ensure that the fryer is on a sturdy, level surface and do not move it once it is in use.
- Test the amount of oil you need by filling your fryer with water. Place the turkey in the pot making sure the water doesn’t get too close to the top. Measure the water and use that as a guide for filling the pot with oil.
- Ensure that your turkey is fully thawed without frost on it before you fry it. A partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when you put it in the cooking pot.
- Use a kitchen thermometer that attaches to the side of the pot if your turkey fryer does not have a thermostat. This will help you monitor the temperature of the oil and prevent overheating, which can lead to a fire.
Outdoor fire safety
Outdoor fire safety starts with obeying local burn bans and fire restrictions. While outdoor recreational fires contained in fire rings, pits, chimenea devices, outdoor fireplaces, and stoves are allowed, fires must be contained, constantly attended, and smaller than three feet in diameter and height. The burn ban still applies to all leaf, debris, yard waste, and land clearing burns. It is always a good idea to keep your home as fireproof as possible by cleaning up around your house to make a defensible space from wildfire through activities such as mowing the lawn, removing debris from the rood and gutters, clearing a 5-foot perimeter around your home free of flammable materials as well as limbing trees and shrubs.
Sign up for local emergency notifications to receive timely information. In the event of an emergency, Buncombe County will utilize its CodeRED text messaging system to communicate with residents. To receive alerts, text “BCAlert” to 99411 or go to buncombecounty.org/codered.