N.C. Forest Service officials urge the public to postpone any outdoor burning through early June. During the next two weeks as warmer, drier weather patterns continue across the state, fire danger will be high, and in some cases, extreme especially in the Coastal Plain and Sandhills.
“As our state continues to dry out and heat up, we need every North Carolinian to be mindful of fire danger and the increased risk of wildfire due to this warm, dry weather,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Be especially careful in Eastern North Carolina. Check local ordinances and alerts so that you remain aware of any local and state burning restrictions that are in effect or that may become effective in the coming days.”
More wildfires have occurred in North Carolina during 2021 than in all of 2020. “Last year, we had about 2,300 wildfires across the state, and this year, we’ve already exceeded that number by more than 200 wildfires,” said David Lane, state forester with the N.C. Forest Service. “We started the month of May with 72 wildfires occurring just one day after the National Weather Service had issued a red flag warning for most of North Carolina. We’re in spring wildfire season right now, a time when conditions are more favorable for wildfire and rapid spread. The warm, dry weather pattern at play amplifies risk. We must take extra precautions to protect our wildland urban interface, those residential and developed areas where forestland mingles with homes and people.”
The N.C. Forest Service offers the following guidelines and tips to help prevent wildfires:
- Allowing a fire to escape or causing a fire will result in criminal penalty and possible civil action for any damages.
- If you choose to burn, check local burning laws first. Some communities allow burning only during specified hours. Others forbid it entirely.
- Make sure you have a valid permit, if one is required. You can obtain a burn permit at any open authorized permitting agent or online at www.ncforestservice.gov/burnpermit.
- Stay informed about the weather and possible weather changes. Postpone outdoor burning during high winds or gusts, or periods of low relative humidity. Even if you have a valid permit, stop burning if strong winds develop.
- Don’t park vehicles on tall dry grass or vegetation. A vehicle’s undercarriage is hot and can start a wildfire.
- Contact your local county forest ranger for technical advice and options to help ensure the safety of people, property and the forest. To find contact information for your local NCFS county ranger, visit www.ncforestservice.gov/contacts.
To learn more about fire safety and preventing wildfires and property damage or loss, visit www.ncforestservice.gov. To learn more about actions you can take to prepare your home and property for wildfire, visit www.resistwildfirenc.org.