Burn ban in effect statewide and a reminder about being safe on the farm.

by | Dec 7, 2021

A statewide burn ban remains in effect

Summary: A statewide burn ban in now in effect because of extremely dry conditions across the state. Fire risk remains high as the N.C. Forest Service continues to battle the Grindstone Fire at Pilot Mountain. Commissioner Troxler remains people to work safely on the farm following a recent rescue from a grain silo.

Today’s Topic with Southern Farm Network’s Mike Davis
  • Across the state, dry conditions raise the risk of wildfires. In fact, we have seen three recent fires that illustrate that point – the Sauratown Mountain Fire, the Grindstone Fire at Pilot Mountain and the latest at Pogue Mountain near Marion.
  • These dry conditions prompted the recent statewide burn ban that went into effect Nov. 29.
  • Staff with our N.C. Forest Service had been monitoring conditions for a while, hoping we’d get some significant rain to reduce the fire risk. But with the ongoing fires and no rain in the forecast, we knew a burn ban was necessary.
  • This decision is not taken lightly. Our goal – as always with fire response – is to protect people, homes and property from the threat and spread of wildfires.
  • The burn ban will be in effect until further notice and there are $100 fines plus court costs for anyone found violating the ban.
  • Under North Carolina law, this ban prohibits all open burning in the all counties, regardless of whether a permit was issued. No new burn permits will be issued until the ban is lifted.
  • Since this ban went into effect, we have had some questions come in regarding home fire pits and grills. I hope I can help clarify this for residents.
  • The burn ban issued by the N.C. Forest Service does not apply to a fire within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. That jurisdiction falls to local government agencies.
  • The N.C. Forest Service has advised county fire marshals of the burning ban and has asked for their consideration in also implementing a burning ban. Some have implemented a county burn ban in support of the statewide ban, in which case any open fire would be prohibited.
  • Residents need to contact their local fire marshals to determine if a local ban is also in place.
  • My best advice to everyone is to just delay any planned burns regardless of whether a local ban exists or not. In my opinion, the risk is just not worth it.
  • If a fire within a 100-foot area of a dwelling escapes containment, a North Carolina forest ranger may have to 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.
  • Additionally, within 100 feet of a dwelling is pretty close. For perspective, that’s less than three yard sticks away from a dwelling.
  • Again, in my opinion, not worth the risk.
  • I traveled to Pilot Mountain late last week to get an update from our Incident Management Team on site that is managing operations for both the Grindstone Fire at Pilot Mountain and the Sauratown Mountain Fire in Stokes County.
  • It’s difficult working these fires, but it makes me proud to see our employees helping others and using their expertise and training to lead response efforts.
  • We are going to continue efforts until these fires are brought under control.
  • Please do your part, by not burning.
  • Agriculture and forestry are among some of the most dangerous professions according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Last week I saw a news article about emergency responders rescuing a farmer from a grain silo in Northeastern North Carolina. Oftentimes, these kinds of stories don’t have happy endings, as grain silos are extremely dangerous.
  • Luckily, rescue crews were able to draw down the amount of grain in the silo and the farmer was able to walk out on his own.
  • This incident serves as a reminder about how quickly a situation can change and that it is important for farmers and farmworkers to follow all safety protocols involving farm equipment.
  • Take the time to review the safety procedures in place with workers to ensure a safe operation.
  • I am glad this story ended ok, but I know it could have been much, much different.
  • Stay safe people!