Illegal Burn Chars 100 Acres

BLADEN COUNTY -- Highway 242 in rural northern Bladen County is back open after smoke from an apparent illegal burn closed it down and charred about 100 acres.

The statewide burning ban has been in effect for over two months. Extreme dry conditions are breaking records, and the resources to fight any illegal burns are dwindling, but some people are not getting the message.

The owner of a plot of land in White Oak told WECT he wanted to clear brush so he could plant new trees. He figured because of the two inches of rain last week, the burning ban was lifted.

This is not the only time people have started burning after we've had rain, fire fighters say people always make the mistake of burning after the area has received rainfall.

Mike Hardison of the NC Forest Service says there's little water to pump from local canals and streams and the dry conditions make it easy for fires to burrow underground.

Another fire off highway 41 is a prime example of that. It is smoldering four feet below the surface.

Hardison says this is the bottom line is that the burning ban is still in effect.

Officials say if you break the burn ban in Bladen County, you'll be fined $100 and likely pay court costs.

Reported by Bernadette Jay