Monday, 24 May 2021 10:34

Burn ban initiated for Richmond, other counties

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The ground smolders in Gum Swamp on May 21 from a fire that started the previous day. The ground smolders in Gum Swamp on May 21 from a fire that started the previous day. RO file photo

ROCKINGHAM — A burn ban will go into effect at noon Monday for Richmond and several other counties in the Sandhills and Eastern North Carolina.


Steve Troxler, secretary of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, announced the ban in a letter Monday morning because of “hazardous forest fire conditions.”

The ban cancels all burning permits and prohibits open burning until further notice in the following counties: Anson, Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland and  Wayne.

“The burn ban does not apply to fires started within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling,” Troxler said. “Fires within that 100 feet must be confined within an enclosure from which burning material may not  escape or within a protected area upon which a watch is being maintained and which is provided with adequate fire  protection equipment. The local fire marshal has authority to issue a burn ban within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling.”

Wildfires have burned more than 200 acres in Richmond County within the past month.

Last week, a fire in Gum Swamp burned about 100 acres off the sandy section of Cognac Road after someone burned a car, according to County Ranger Jack Franklin of the N.C. Forest Service.

The previous weekend, two close-by fires burned about 60 acres off County Home Road between the Ninth Grade Academy and Plastek.

On Friday, the Forest Service issued a press release urging residents in about a third of the state to postpone burning due to high temperatures and lack of rainfall.

There hasn’t been any measurable rainfall in Richmond County in around two weeks.

The National Weather Service is calling for a 30% chance of thunderstorms on Tuesday. The chance for storms remains the same Friday through Sunday.