BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. (WSPA) – A burn ban was put in place Sunday for a large portion of western North Carolina.

The North Carolina Forest Service has banned all open burning and canceled all burning permits in Graham, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, and Transylvania counties beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday.

The burn ban will continue until further notice.

“Several counties in Western North Carolina are currently in a severe drought, and we are seeing wildfire activity increase due to dry conditions,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Because dry conditions are expected to continue this burn ban is necessary to reduce the risk of fires starting and spreading quickly.”

Buncombe County also issued a separate burn ban due to the high fire danger, low humidity, and strong gusty winds.

Officials said there is to be no burning of yard waste, debris, or land clearing burns during this ban, while also reminding the community that it is never legal to burn anything other than naturally occurring vegetation.

The burn bans do not prohibit grilling outside.

The North Carolina Forest Service said their burn ban does not apply to fires within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling.

Campfires are considered open burning and are covered under the burn ban.