RALEIGH, NC – 22 additional counties have been added to the North Carolina burn ban, and more than half of them are right here in the Piedmont Triad.

A burn ban means that you cannot have an open fire in the affected area, even if you have a permit. There is also a hold on new permits until the ban is lifted.

The following Piedmont Triad counties have a burn ban in place: Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Montgomery, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin.

If you are in any of these counties and you are caught with an open fire you can face up to a $100 fine, and court costs up to $180.

Agriculture Commissioner, Steve Troxler, set the ban because of the increasing wildfires in the state, and the dry weather conditions we are experiencing.

“Fire experts with the N.C. Forest Service feel the current drought situation and the increase in available forest fuels makes it necessary to increase the number of counties under the burn ban,” said Troxler. “We want to be proactive in our approach and take appropriate action to prevent the potential for human-caused wildfires.”

In total, an open burn ban has been placed for the counties of Alexander, Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Caswell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Gaston, Graham, Guilford, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Montgomery, Polk, Randolph, Richmond, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Union, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin and Yancey.

According to the N.C. Forest Service, as of Nov. 20 there have been 3,021 wildfires affecting more than 19,058 acres in NC this year. These numbers do not include fires burning on federal lands, the Party Rock fire near Lake Lure and the Chestnut Knob fire.

For more information on the burn ban you can go to the North Carolina Department Of Agriculture website.