A burn ban has been issued for Eastern North Carolina due to hazardous forest fire conditions.

The N.C. Forest Service announced the burn ban, as well as the cancellation of all burning permits, Thursday evening in a press release. The ban is in effect for the following counties: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Tyrrell and Washington.

The ban went into effect at 5 p.m. Thursday and will remain until further notice as the N.C. Forest Service continues to monitor conditions, according to the release. It prohibits all open burning in the named counties regardless of whether a permit was issued or not and all new permits are suspended until the ban has been lifted.

"Violating the burn ban incurs a $100 fine plus $180 court costs. The person responsible for setting a fire may be liable for reimbursing the N.C. Forest Service for any expenses related to extinguishing it," according to the release.

The ban was issued due to the recent weeks of dry weather and the potential for an increase in human-caused wildfires, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler states in the release.

“During the month of May, there have been 355 wildfires statewide, covering 1,348 acres. This burn ban is a proactive step to protect lives and property by preventing human-caused wildfires,” Troxler is quoted as saying in the release.

The following are frequently asked questions the N.C. Forest Service included in their press release:

Q: What is open burning?

A: Open burning includes burning leaves, branches or other plant material. In all cases, burning trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other non-vegetative material is illegal.

Q: May I still use my grill or barbecue?

A: Yes, if no other local ordinances prohibit their use.

Q: How should I report a wildfire?

A: Call 911 to report a wildfire.

Q: My local fire marshal has also issued a burn ban for my county. What does this mean?

A: The burn ban issued by the N.C. Forest service does not apply to a fire within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. Local government agencies have jurisdiction over open burning within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. The N.C. Forest Service has advised county fire marshals of the burning ban and asked for their consideration of also implementing a burning ban. If a fire within a 100-foot area of a dwelling escapes containment, a North Carolina forest ranger may take reasonable steps to extinguish or control it. The person responsible for setting the fire may be liable for reimbursing the N.C. Forest Service for any expenses related to extinguishing it.

Q: Are there other instances which impact open burning?

A: Local ordinances and air quality regulations may impact open burning. For instance, outdoor burning is prohibited in areas covered by Code Orange or Code Red air quality forecasts. Learn more about air quality forecasts at: https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/air-quality/air-quality-outreach-education/air-quality-forecasts

Q: Can I have a campfire when I go camping?

A: Campfires would be considered open burning and are not exempt from the burn ban. Portable gas stoves or grills are alternate methods for cooking food while camping during a burn ban.

Q: What can I do to protect my house against the risk of wildfire?

A: Learn about wildfire risk assessments and preparedness and prevention plans on the N.C. Forest Service website at https://www.ncforestservice.gov/fire_control/fc_wui.htm.

Anyone with questions about their specific county are asked to contact their county ranger with the N.C. Forest Service or their county fire marshal’s office.