NORTH CAROLINA (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Burning permits for Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Caldwell, Catawba, Haywood, Iredell, Lincoln, Madison, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey have been canceled effective 5 p.m. Wednesday.

N.C. Forest Service says this is due to the increased fire risk and the ban is on all open burning. Open burning includes burning leaves, branches, or other plant material.

“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,” Steve Troxler, Agriculture Commissioner, said. “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.”

Buying new permits is also not allowed until the ban is lifted. Anyone violating the ban burn faces a $100 fine plus $183 in court costs.

“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,” Troxler said.

What is open burning?

Open burning includes burning leaves, branches, or other plant material. In all cases, burning trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other nonvegetative materials is illegal.

May I still use my grill or barbecue?

Yes, if no other local ordinances prohibit their use.

How do I report a wildfire?

Call 911 to report a wildfire.

Can I have a campfire when I go camping?

Campfires would be considered open burning and are not exempt from the burn ban. During a burn ban, portable gas stoves or grills are alternate methods for cooking food while camping.