Nov. 6, 2023
Buncombe County has issued a state of emergency banning burning effective at 12 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 6 due to the extreme risk of fire. The declaration applies within the municipal limits of the City of Asheville, the Town of Weaverville, the town of Woodfin, the Town of Black Mountain, the Town of Montreat, and the Town of Biltmore Forest. This declaration activates emergency management plans and allows personnel to be mobilized and positioned to reduce the vulnerability of people and property to damage, injury and loss of life while preparing for property and efficient rescue, care, and treatment of threated or affected persons. The declaration also provides for cooperation and coordination of activities relating to emergency mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery with other county agencies, state and federal governments, with interstate organizations, and with other private and quasi-official organizations. The state of emergency will continue until emergency service officials advise the County otherwise.
Under the state of emergency, all outdoor burning is prohibited, including fire pits, campfires, tiki torches, and chimineas. Only the preparation of food using outdoor grills is allowed.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, research points to embers and small flames as the main way that most homes ignite in wildfires. Embers are burning pieces of airborne wood and/or vegetation that can be carried more than a mile through the wind, causing spot fires and igniting homes, debris, and other objects. To learn how to protect your home, visit www.nfpa.org/firewise.
Smoke from surrounding areas is impacting local air quality. Monday, Nov. 6 is a code yellow air quality forecast day for the valleys and northern ridge tops of Asheville and Buncombe County. Unusually sensitive people should consider limiting prolonged outdoor activities. For the southern ridge tops, it is a code orange air quality forecast day. Air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups. Children, active adults, and those with heart or respiratory disease, including asthma, should limit outdoor activity. To view current air quality conditions, visit www.airnow.gov and for more details on fire and smoke, https://fire.airnow.gov/.
In the event of an emergency, Buncombe County will utilize its Code Red text messaging system to communicate with residents. To receive alerts, text “BCAlert” to 99411 or go to www.buncombecounty.org/codered.
Residents are encouraged to develop safety plans, not just for fires, but for other emergencies. To download a sample safety plan, visit readync.gov. Experts also recommend creating a “go kit” with medications, important bank documents, social security cards, insurance policies, water, food, pet supplies, and more. For insurance purposes, take photos or videos of personal belongings.
To report a fire or illegal burn, call 911. For more information on the emergency declaration, go to www.buncombecounty.org.