The Town of Mount Gilead continues to deal with apparent misunderstanding regarding the policy on outdoor burning in the town limit. Town Manager Katrina Tatum says it’s not a town ordinance, but rather a state law that prohibits most open burning in Mount Gilead, unless the state has issued an air quality permit.
“They allow this to be done in a number of situations,” Tatum said, “but, if the town has municipal pickup, they won’t allow open burning without an open air burning permit.”
Tatum said there are also safety concerns to be considered with outdoor burning.
“It’s not that we don’t want you to burn, but a lot of people who burn mix up all kinds of stuff in that trash. We’ve had two kids who had to go to the hospital because their neighbor burned next door and the smoke went into the children’s bedrooms.”
The town manager also cited a situation where volunteer firefighters had to be called because trash burning got out of control and another where a resident was burning in an area over a natural gas line.
North Carolina’s Open Burning Rule dates back to 1971. According to the state Department of Environment and Natural Resource’s Division of Air Quality, the rule prohibits most outdoor burning and sets conditions for allowable fires. The Division says that, under the rule, it is always illegal to burn trash and other non-vegetative materials. Leaves, branches and other plant growth can be burned under certain conditions. Violators can be fined up to $25,000 or more.
Information on the rules and regulations regarding outdoor burning are available from the Mount Gilead Town Hall at 910-439-5111 or from the Montgomery County emergency services office at 910-572-1313.