State wildlife officials discourage outdoor yard debris burning

RALEIGH, NC (WITN) - It’s not a ban, but state wildlife officials are discouraging residents from outdoor yard debris burning.

Instead, the North Carolina Forest Service wants people to mulch their leaves,stems, and other yard debris. The recommendation is related to the coronavirus outbreak across the country and world.

In a press release Thursday, N.C. Forest Service officials said, they urge citizens to reconsider burning yard debris through the end of May, which historically marks the end of spring wildfire season in North Carolina. Instead, they said to consider alternatives to burning. Some types of debris, such as leaves, grass, and stubble, may be of more value if they are not burned but used for mulch instead.

“In North Carolina, most wildfires are caused by human action and careless debris burning. When left unattended, debris burns can escape, igniting tragic wildfires,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Minimizing the number of escaped debris burns will reduce the risk of wildfires while also reducing the risk of community exposure to COVID-19 by allowing first responders to limit close-contact interactions and maintain social distance.”

The agency added, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the N.C. Forest Service continues mission-critical work such as wildfire suppression and other emergency response functions.

Tips to protect property, prevent wildfires, or to access the Online Burning Permit System can be found at ncforestservice.gov.