By Tim Gardner
Like the rest of the North Carolina High Country and many other areas statewide, Avery County is coping with a lack of much-needed rainfall and drought conditions. As a result, the county’s Fire Marshal has issued a local burning ban.
It became effective as of 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 7 and will remain so until an adequate amount of rainfall is received in the county to alleviate its present drought conditions, according to Avery County Emergency Management Director and Fire Marshal Paul Buchanan.
The ban is for all outdoor open burning across the county and within the municipalities of Banner Elk, Sugar Mountain, Crossnore, Elk Park, Grandfather Village, and Newland. It prohibits “open burning within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling regardless of the issuance of a permit, including, but not limited to, recreational fires, portable outdoor fireplaces, burning of yard debris, bonfires, and outdoor fire pits,” Buchanan said.
The open burning ban by the Fire Marshal is authorized per North Carolina Fire Code, Chapter 3, Section 307 , which states that “Burning shall be prohibited when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous and to prevent the potential for increased fire hazards due to extremely dry weather conditions.”
According to the latest update from the National Weather Service, there is a 50 percent chance of rain showers on Thursday night, November 9 and a 70 percent chance on Friday, November 10. The chance drops to 40 percent on Friday night. However, less than a tenth of an inch of rain is expected on Thursday night and lower amounts on Friday and Friday night.
Buchanan added that his office will issue a public statement announcing when the burning ban is lifted.
All inquiries about the burning ban should be directed to the office of the Avery Fire Marshal by calling (828) 733-8210.