By Jesse Wood
The Town of Boone has expanded the burn ban as of Thursday evening, according to Amy Flieg, fire prevention specialist with the Boone Fire Department.
Previously within town limits, the ban covered burning of debris and the like but couldn’t keep people from utilizing outside fires for cooking or warmth. Effective immediately, the only open flames outside allowed are for manufactured grills and cookers.
The ban is instituted in town limits and includes the extraterritorial jurisdiction. The ban remains in place until further notice.
Currently, nearly 45,000 acres of forest are burning in Western North Carolina and the drought is causing groundwater levels to drop, a cause of concern for homeowners with wells.
Watauga County is currently in a “severe drought,” as classified by the U.S. Drought Monitor of North Carolina: