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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Macon County Emergency Management Still Does Not Recommend Outdoor Burning

Locations of wildfires in and around Macon County 
over the last two weeks

Here is a press release from the Macon County Emergency Management that was issued last night after I went to bed:

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Macon County Emergency Services
November 5, 2016
Warren Cabe, Director

Several large wildfires in and around the border of Macon County will continue to blanket several areas of the county with smoke. Smoke from fires in the US Highway 64 West area and the Tellico/ NC Highway 28 North area will be especially noticeable. These conditions will continue into tomorrow, especially during the early morning hours. Use extreme caution when driving into dense smoke areas.

Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.

Older adults and children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke. Avoiding these areas if smoke does irritate your health condition is the best recommendation, but if that is not possible indoor air can be kept cleaner by keeping windows and doors closed as much as possible.

Conditions are still extremely dangerous for outdoor burning. Outdoor burning is not recommended until significant rainfall decreases the fire danger.

End Press Release

Macon County Emergency Management released a similar statement on November 2, 2016. [LINK]

For those of you who have been wondering why local authorities have not instituted a burn ban, it is probably because they don't have the authority. The North Carolina General Assembly regulates burning in our state by General Statute. There are also some types of burning that the state cannot regulate, like fires for warmth or for cooking of they are within an enclosed structure.

The appropriate law concerning burning can be found in Chapter 106, Article 78 of the NCGS (North Carolina General Statutes). What Macon Media believes to be the appropriate paragraph is posted below:

§ 106-944.  Open burning prohibited statewide.
During periods of hazardous forest fire conditions or during air pollution episodes declared pursuant to Article 21B of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes, the Commissioner is authorized to prohibit all open burning regardless of whether a permit is required under G.S. 106-942 or G.S. 106-943. The Commissioner shall issue a press release containing relevant details of the prohibition to news media serving the area affected.

Added at 4:13 am on Nov 6, 2016

Here is a report from the USFS regarding significant fires in the Southeastern United States as of 7 am Friday morning, so the numbers may be on the small side:
(Fires that are in Macon County or neighboring counties are in bold letters)

Rough Ridge Fire in GA Started 10/16/16 3600 acres 10% contained
Boteler Fire in NC Started 10/25/16 619 acres 10% contained

Raven Rock Fire in VA Started 11/02/16 1000 acres 15% contained
Cemetery Fire in KY Started 11/02/16 100 acres 5% contained
Knob Fire in NC Started 11/03/16 175 acres 28% contained 
Tellico Fire in NC Started 11/03/16 300 acres 39% contained
May Branch Fire in NC Started 11/03/16 175 acres 50% contained
Little Elk Valley Road Fire in TN Stared 11/02/16 245 acres 79% contained
Birchfield Fire in AR Started 10/31/16 237 acres 99% contained
Cliffside Fire in NC Started 11/02/16 100 acres 80% contained 
Wolf Creek Fire in TN Started 11/02/16 420 acres 85% contained
Wolverine Fire in MS Started 11/01/16 452 acres 95% contained
Rocky Face Fire in GA Started 10/27/16 386 acres 99% contained

And, lastly, here is a breakdown of the situation from yesterday's (Nov 5th) Southern Incident Management Report as of 7 am: