ASHEBORO N.C. – A warning from the National Weather Service of increased fire danger today comes as local fire crews return from assisting with the Poplar Drive Fire in Henderson County.
Today at 9:15 a.m., the National Weather Service Office in Raleigh issued a notice that low humidity, dry conditions, and northeasterly wind gusts of up to 15 mph will create conditions for an increased fire danger today through 7 p.m.
Officials strongly encourage citizens to avoid any outdoor burning, properly discard cigarette butts and matches and be careful with equipment that may cause sparks.
The warnings come amid an uptick in brush and forest fires. In Randolph County, in just the last two weeks fire crews have responded to around 70 grass, brush, or forest fires.
The N.C. Forest Service has issued a ban on all open burning and has canceled all burning permits for Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Caldwell, Catawba, Haywood, Iredell, Lincoln, Madison, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties effective 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8, until further notice.
“With the long-range forecast and conditions on the ground showing no improvement, expanding the ban on open burning to additional counties is a necessary precaution,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We keep a close eye on weather, fire danger and fuel conditions, especially this time of year. We’re making daily assessments, and the burn ban will be expanded into Piedmont counties and further east if needed. If you’re in a county that does not fall under the ban, think twice about any outdoor burning until we see significant, soaking rain across the state.”
Today’s warning for increased fire danger comes as local fire crews have returned safely after assisting in efforts to fight the Poplar Drive Fire in Henderson County.
Chief Eric Hoffman, FF/EMT Angela Talbott, Liberty Fire Chief Matt Talbott, and Tabernacle Firefighters Ricky Watts and Hunter Leroy all deployed to Henderson County to assist the North Carolina Forest Service and OSFM. “Crews work 12 hour day and night shifts to ensure the fire remains contained. Brush 19 is on the fire line 24 hours a day during this deployment,” said the East Side Fire Department in a post on Facebook.
According to an update by the N.C. Forestry Service, that fire is now 90% contained, but so far has destroyed one home, two cabins, two uninhabitable mobile homes, one uninhabitable cabin and two outbuildings.