Wednesday, 02 June 2021 15:43

Burn ban lifted in Richmond, surrounding counties

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Burn ban lifted in Richmond, surrounding counties RO file photo

ROCKINGHAM — A 26-county burn ban will be lifted as of 5 p.m. Wednesday as recent rains have decreased the risk of wildfires.


The ban was in effect for more than a quarter of the state —  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 counties —  for a week and a half, including the Memorial Day weekend, due to high temperatures and a lack of rainfall.

 

Some parts of Richmond County received rain on Saturday, while other areas went more than three weeks without until Wednesday.

A fire in Gum Swamp burned about 100 acres off the sandy section of Cognac Road after someone burned a car, several days prior to the ban. The previous weekend, two close-by fires burned about 60 acres off County Home Road between the Ninth Grade Academy and Plastek.

“Recent rainfall across central and eastern North Carolina has decreased fire danger,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “With more rain expected across the area through the weekend, we should see even more improvement. Still, residents should burn responsibly. Check for restrictions before burning, and make sure you have a valid permit. Check the weather, and never leave a debris fire unattended.”

Burn permits will be available starting at 5 p.m. and can be obtained from any open authorized permitting agent or online at www.ncforestservice.gov/burnpermit. Any permits granted prior to the ban are invalid and a new permit must be obtained.

County Ranger Jack Franklin with the N.C. Forest Service said four citations were issued since the ban went into effect May 24.

Franklin added that there were no major fires during that time.

“The burn ban did its job,” he told the RO on Wednesday.

While there were no forest fires, Franklin said that a faulty catalytic converter caused a grass fire on U.S. 220 near the Berry Patch and that his crews were called out to assist in several structure fires that threatened the woods, including a chicken house fire on Saturday.

Local rangers also helped with a Tuesday fire on the Montgomery County side of Research Farm Road near Norman, Derby and Candor.

Forest Service records show there 21 fires across North Carolina on June 1 that burned 17.15 acres of private or state-owned land.

Four of those were in District 3 — which includes Richmond, Anson, Chatham, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Scotland and Stanly counties — burning 2.3 acres.

Neighboring District 6 had seven fires to burn 7.1 acres, the most of any district in the state. That district includes Cumberland, Hoke, Harnett, Johnston, Robeson and Sampson counties.

So far this year, there have been 2,714 fires to burn more than 8,200 acres.