(a) The provisions of this section apply only to the counties of Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Gates, Hyde, Jones, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington which are classified as high hazard counties in accordance with G.S. 106‑940.
(b) It is unlawful for any person to willfully start or cause to be started any fire in any woodland under the protection of the Department or within 500 feet of any such woodland without first having obtained a permit from the Department. Permits for starting fires may be obtained from forest rangers or other agents authorized by the forest ranger to issue such permits in the county in which the fire is to be started. Such permits shall be issued by the ranger or other agent unless permits for the area in question have been prohibited or cancelled in accordance with G.S. 106‑944 or G.S. 106‑946.
(c) It is unlawful for any person to willfully burn any debris, stumps, brush or other flammable materials resulting from ground clearing activities and involving more than five contiguous acres, regardless of the proximity of the burning to woodland and on which such materials are placed in piles or windrows without first having obtained a special permit from the Department. Areas less than five acres in size will require a regular permit in accordance with G.S. 106‑942(b).
(2) The location of the burning must be at least 500 feet from any dwelling or structure located in a predominately residential area other than a dwelling or structure located on the property on which the burning is conducted unless permission is granted by the occupants.
(3) The amount of dirt or organic soil on or in the material to be burned must be minimized and the material arranged in a way suitable to facilitate rapid burning.
(4) Burning may not be initiated when it is determined by a forest ranger, based on information supplied by a competent authority that stagnant air conditions or inversions exist or that such conditions may occur during the duration of the burn.
(5) Heavy oils, asphaltic material, or items containing natural or synthetic rubber may not be used to ignite the material to be burned or to promote the burning of such material.
(6) Initial burning may be commenced only between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. and no combustible material may be added to the fire between 4:00 P.M. on one day and 8:00 A.M. on the following day, except that when favorable meteorological conditions exist, any forest ranger authorized to issue the permit may authorize in writing a deviation from the restrictions. (1981, c. 1100, s. 2; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1165; c. 1385, s. 2; 2002‑132, s. 1; 2011‑145, ss. 13.25(w), (x); 2013‑265, s. 15; 2017‑108, s. 12(f).)