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NC Forest Service warns people not to outdoor burn, use at-home fireworks during drought

The Last Resort wildfire that took place in Tyrrell County in March 2023.
NC Forest Service
The Last Resort wildfire that took place in Tyrrell County in March 2023.

The North Carolina Forest Service is urging residents not to do any outdoor burning, due to persistent dry conditions across the state.

Officials say that 99 of the state’s 100 counties should be taking this recommendations seriously, since most are in some level of drought, according to the NC Drought Management Advisory Council.

“You always hear about lightning causing wildfires, but it only accounts for about 1% with the other 99% just being a direct result from human activity,” said Philip Jackson with the NC Forest Service. “So campfires this time of year, probably not a good idea and debris burning, not a good idea.”

He said at-home fireworks can also lead to wildfires.

“Wildfires that have been caused by fireworks can be prosecuted under the forest protection laws of North Carolina,” said Jackson. “Individuals may be subject to reimbursing the costs of fire suppression and fire suppression is not cheap. So, it's really just not worth it.”

Jackson said residents could possibly begin to burn debris outdoors and use at-home fireworks, after it has rained up to six inches in an area over a 72-hour period. He also said the North Carolina Forest Service is encouraging residents to attend a professional firework display during the 4th of July.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.