As a fire continues to rage along the peak of Pilot Mountain, the state has issued a burn ban for every county.
The Surry County town, home to Pilot Mountain State Park, watched as flames engulfed the base of the mountain on Saturday as volunteer firefighters worked to contain it. The blaze continued to devastate the State Park. On Nov. 29, the North Carolina Forest Service issued a statewide burn ban.
The fire continued to burn at the beginning of the week and is now about 80% contained, according to officials at a news conference on Thursday. They believe all 900 acres of the mountain will be burned in some capacity. The mountain makes up only a portion of Pilot Mountain State Park.
Pilot Mountain State Park has been closed to visitors since Nov. 28 and officials believe that it will remain closed the rest of the week.
North Carolina Burn Ban
All 100 counties are on a burn ban until further due to the high potential for fire outbreaks, according to the State Forest Service.
“It is fall wildfire season in North Carolina, and we are seeing wildfire activity increase due to dry conditions,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “With these ongoing conditions, a statewide burn ban is necessary to reduce the risk of fires starting and spreading quickly. Our top priority is always to protect lives, property and forestland across the state.”
Under North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in the affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was previously issued. The issuance of any new permits has also been suspended until the ban is lifted. People can face a $100 fine plus court costs if they violate the ban. Any person responsible for setting a fire may be liable for any expenses related to extinguishing the fire.
Local fire departments and law enforcement officers are assisting the N.C. Forest Service in enforcing the burn ban.
Where is Pilot Mountain?
Pilot Mountain is a small community in Surry County and is home to Pilot Mountain State Park.
Cause of the Pilot Mountain fire
The cause of the wildfire is believed to have started with a campfire at the state park, according state forestry and firefighters continue to battle the blaze.
Pilot Mountain State Park will likely remain closed all week due to it. It has burned nearly 1,000 acres by Tuesday. N.C. State Park and Recreation officials ask that people stay away from the area and to not use drones over the park in attempt to photograph as they could interfere with fire fighting aircraft.
NC Wildfire map
NC air quality tracker
This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: Pilot Mountain fire 2021: See a map, air quality impact, NC burn ban