North Myrtle Beach City Council had the first reading at Monday's meeting on a new ordinance to permanently ban open burning within the city limits.
A burning ban has been in effect in North Myrtle Beach since the April wildfire that destroyed more than 70 homes within Barefoot Landing.
Although the fire actually started outside the city limits, leaders there are taking up an ordinance that would put restrictions on when and where burning can be done.
The North Myrtle Beach City Council voted unanimously to pass a first reading that will change the current law which is extremely lax in its regulations on open burning.
If the new law gets a second and final vote, all outdoor burning, with a few exceptions, would be banned on North Myrtle Beach property. However, the city will not be able to regulate any open burning on tiny specs of unincorporated Horry County that are nestled within city limits.
Burning that would be permitted includes:
- Fires set for the cooking of food for human consumption
- Fires set for recreational purposes
- Fires set for the training of firefighters if conducted within a recognized fire training facility
- Fires set for the purpose of backfiring to contain wildfires, if performed by the organization responsible for fighting the wildfire
- Fires set for the disposal of debris as a result of an officially declared emergency or disaster
Tom Powell of the Barefoot Landing Resort thanked the Council for their work and said he hopes that Horry County will follow suit.
"I know it's a little more difficult in the county because of the farm lands that have to be burned. A lot of people don't have trash pickup, and they have to find a way to burn their trash. There's go to be some kind of better controls put in place. We can't afford another wildfire like we had before," Powell said.
The penalty for people who break the no burning ordinance would result in a written first warning followed by prosecution if there is a second incident.