The Burton Fire District has responded to increasing calls for dangerous illegal burning in the Gray’s Hill area. While the number of brush fires and illegal burning has remained relatively the same as in previous years, it is what is being burned that has firefighters concerned.
“People are burning plastics, carpets, treated wood, engine parts, and other items that become extremely toxic when they
are burning,” stated Burton Firefighter Daniel Byrne. “There have been people burning abandoned homes. Not only is that illegal, it is outright dangerous for the entire neighborhood being saturated by the smoke.”
Byrne recalled a recent illegal burn in the Stuart Point Road area where a resident had dumped debris from a demolished home, consisting of plastics and carpeting, that was then ignited. Toxic smoke billowed for miles as local children rode their bikes nearby.
Beaufort County recently adopted an outdoor burning ordinance that makes it illegal to conduct burning not in compliance with the stated regulations. Residents are encouraged to learn about the ordinance and call their local fire department with any questions; Byrne cautions that lack of knowledge concerning the ordinance regulations does not excuse you from responsibility and being held liable.
Byrne also cautions that burning items other than natural vegetation could be in violation of other state and federal laws.