RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY) – The North Carolina Forest Service lifted the burn ban for 67 of North Carolina’s 100 counties on Wednesday as conditions begin to improve. The ban remains in effect for the remaining 33 counties.

The ban went into effect on November 29 because of hazardous forest fire conditions.

Forest Service officials urge those in the counties where the ban has been lifted to still burn responsibly.

“Check the weather, and never leave a debris fire unattended. If you’re in one of the 33 counties still under the state’s burn ban, please be patient and hold off on burning,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said.

The ban on all open burning is now lifted for the following counties in North Carolina: Anson, Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Cabarrus, Camden, Carteret, Catawba, Chatham, Cherokee, Chowan, Clay, Cleveland, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Franklin, Gaston, Gates, Graham, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Haywood, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Iredell, Jackson, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Lincoln, Macon, Martin, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Rutherford, Sampson, Scotland, Stanly, Swain, Tyrell, Union, Wake, Warren, Washington, Wayne and Wilson.

A fire on Pilot Mountain in Surry County, North Carolina burned 1,050 acres before it was contained just a few days ago.

And the Huntsville Mountain Fire in Marion burned roughly 436 acres. That fire was determined to have started from hunting activities. Hunting is not allowed in any state park, recreation area or natural area.

North Carolina ranks #1 in the nation for the number of acres in the wildland urban interface (WUI), which is an area where homes, businesses and communities intermingle with a natural environment.

North Carolina residents can obtain a burn permit from any authorized permitting agent or online at www.ncforestservice.gov/burnpermit. Burn permits previously granted were canceled when the ban became effective; a valid permit must be obtained.

Residents with questions regarding their specific county can contact their N.C. Forest Service county ranger or their county fire marshal’s office. To find contact information for your local NCFS county ranger, visit www.ncforestservice.gov/contacts.