Archived Outdoors

Burn ban partially lifted as drought conditions persist

Burn ban partially lifted as drought conditions persist

The statewide burn ban enacted Nov. 29 was lifted for 67 counties as of noon Wednesday, Dec. 8, due to rainfall touching much of the state in the early part of the week.

“The rainfall we are seeing across much of the state right now is doing what we need it to do,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Forest fuels are soaking it in, and conditions are improving.”

Counties with lifted burn bans include Haywood, Jackson, Swain, Macon, Clay, Cherokee and Graham, but Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania and Madison counties are still under a burn ban.

The rain quelled wildfires that had been burning hundreds of acres in the center portion of the state, including 1,050 acres at Pilot Mountain State Park near Winston-Salem but didn’t do much to knock back the drought conditions now covering nearly all of the state.

The Dec. 2 drought map showed 86 out of 100 counties reporting abnormally dry or drought conditions, and those conditions had spread to all 100 counties at the time data was gathered for the Dec. 9 map on Dec. 7. That map showed 22 counties as abnormally dry, 22 in moderate drought and 56 in severe drought. The mountain region, including Haywood, Jackson, Swain Macon, Clay, Cherokee, Graham, Buncombe, Transylvania and Henderson counties are all classified as abnormally dry.

A cold front this weekend could bring a quarter-inch to a half-inch of rain to many areas, although some places could see less, according to the N.C. Drought Monitor.

Residents in the 67 counties no longer under the state burn ban should still burn responsibly, check for local burning restrictions and make sure to have a valid permit, said Troxler. Burn permits are now available in those counties from authorized permitting agents or online at All burn permits granted prior to the burn ban were cancelled when the ban became effective, so a new, valid permit must be obtained. Residents of the 33 counties still under the burn ban must wait to receive a permit.

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