Open-burning ban lifted for 32 mountain counties

Published 9:59 pm Monday, December 5, 2016

Fire experts with the N.C. Forest Service say recent rains have helped to reduce fire danger in the North Carolina mountains, prompting the agency to lift the ban on open burning for 32 counties effective last Friday.

The burn ban has been lifted in these counties: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Union, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey.

The burn ban will remain in effect for the following 15 counties in the Piedmont: Anson, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Montgomery, Randolph, Richmond, Rockingham, Rowan, Stanly, Stokes, Surry and Yadkin.

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“Despite the recent rain, the N.C. Forest Service has noted that not all areas received the soaking rain needed to fully mitigate fuel conditions,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “They would like some additional time to assess fire conditions in the Piedmont counties currently under the ban.”

The N.C. Forest Service continues to evaluate the need for the ban daily, Troxler said.

The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation is not permitting campfires and open cooking fires at any of its parks west of Interstate 95. South Mountains State Park remains closed due to wildfire activity. Chimney Rock State Park has reopened except for the Rumbling Bald climbing access. Before visiting, check park conditions

The U.S. Forest Service is not allowing campfires anywhere in the backcountry on federal park land, even for cooking. Campers will have to use camp stoves for cooking in the backcountry. For more information, visit

The National Park Service and Appalachian Trail Conservancy also have imposed fire restrictions along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail from U.S. Route 33 in Shenandoah National Park to the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia. These fire restrictions include the NPS lands around McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs in Virginia. The A.T. is currently closed from Dicks Creek Gap/U.S. 76 in Georgia to the Nantahala River/U.S. 19/U.S. 74 in North Carolina. Up-to-date information can be found at

The burn ban was issued for North Carolina’s 25 westernmost counties on Nov. 7. An additional 22 counties were added Nov. 21 as drought conditions worsened in the mountains and spread into the Piedmont. Wildfires have burned more than 73,000 acres in Western North Carolina this fall.

– article submitted by NCDA