By DEUCE NIVEN
Note: This story has changed to reflect a burning ban ordered for much of eastern North Carolina, including Columbus County, by the NC Forest Service.
Very dry conditions have prompted Horry County Fire Rescue to extend a burning ban for all unincorporated areas there, with a similar ban in place for Columbus and 25 other eastern North Carolina counties.
“Our state is getting drier and hotter, and wildfires like those conditions,” NC Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in a NC Forest Service news release. “These conditions coming during spring wildfire season when wildfire activities and fire risks are already elevated, make this burn ban necessary to protect life and property in North Carolina.”
Civil penalties of up to $100 plus $180 in court costs may apply to violators, the order said.
Both bans were announced Monday.
“This isn’t to ruin anyone’s fun, or get in the way of property management, but out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our residents and guests,” an HCFR social media post said. “A small fire could rage out of control, grow rapidly and put property and lives at risk.
“Do not burn until the ban is lifted.”
A separate prohibition on outdoor burning within 100 feet of a structure was also announced by Columbus County Fire Marshal Shannon Strickland.
Leaves, branches or other plant materials, trash, lumber, or other debris are covered under the burning prohibition, Strickland’s notice said.
Outdoor charcoal or gas grills are allowed, “provided precautions are taken to prevent fire from escaping the appliances,” the order said.