Nov. 8—Haywood County has now joined a region-wide burn ban in Western North Carolina.
Forest fires currently burning in Jackson, Henderson and Cherokee counties have encompassed thousands of acres and are nowhere near contained, prompting air quality alerts for the region.
On Sunday, 14 Western North Carolina counties were put under a burn ban, but Haywood County was not in this initial group. The counties under that ban bordered Haywood County on two sides.
Starting Wednesday at 5 p.m., Haywood County joined 15 more counties added to the ban, bringing the total to 30 counties in total. Meanwhile, forest fires
Any burn permit previously issued in Haywood County is now void and the burn ban is in place until further notice. Violating the burn ban can result in up to a $250 fine.
Officials in Haywood County are urging residents to not burn anything outside as a precaution.
"As tempting as it may be to burn leaves or yard waste, dry, windy days like we've been having are extremely dangerous 'fire weather,'" said Allison Richmond, public information officer for Haywood Emergency Services. "Burn piles can get out of hand fast. Make good choices."
Last week, firefighters fought a brush fire in the Rush Fork area of Crabtree. The fire burned roughly 60 acres before being contained.
"Open burning is strongly discouraged until weather conditions improve in our region. The low humidity combined with dry conditions and wind gusts are a dangerous combination when deciding to open burn. No brush pile or leave pile is worth the loss of your property or a neighbor's," the Junaluska Fire Department said in a Facebook post.
Meanwhile, a forest fire near Andrews in Cherokee County had burned nearly 4,000 acres as of Wednesday morning and is 0% contained. Currently, no structures have been lost or are being threatened.
The fire grew from just 110 acres as of Nov. 3 to 2,100 acre by Nov. 6 and 4,000 acres by Nov. 8.
In Henderson County, a forest fire has burnt 431 acres as of Wednesday morning and is 15% contained. One home, an outbuilding, and an uninhabited cabin have been lost, while another home sustained damage, while additional homes remain threatened in and along the area of the fire footprint.
A wildfire burning in the Nantahala National Forest in Jackson County had grown to about 300 acres as of Wednesday and was 80% contained. The East Fork Fire was first reported on Nov. 4.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Monday issued a ban on backcountry campfires until further notice, and the national forests have also issued a ban on campfires.