Raleigh warns against pine straw landscaping

Officials say it's a fire hazard and could saddle some property owners with a fine
February 28, 2014 10:26:51 AM PST
Spring is right around the corner and, for many, that means thoughts are turning to sprucing up the yard and maybe doing a little landscaping.

But the City of Raleigh is warning residents not to use pine straw as a landscaping material close to homes. Officials say it's a fire hazard and could bring some property owners a fine.

There have been numerous examples in recent years of fires that begin in pine straw spreading to buildings. In 2007, 32 townhouses in the Pine Knoll community off Capital Boulevard were destroyed when a blaze broke out.

In 2010, another fire in Raleigh's Highland Creek neighborhood was also blamed on the popular landscaping material.

Following the two major fires, the City of Raleigh adopted an ordinance that bans pine straw from being used as a ground cover within 10 feet of multi-family dwellings such as apartment complexes and condominiums. Failing to follow the law results in fines of at least $50. And while single family homes don't have to adhere to the ordinance, fire officials certainly hope you will for your own safety.

So what should you use around your home instead?

"We really we encourage any type of non-combustible material, rock, brick chips, or something that won't burn under any circumstances is obviously what we'd recommend," said Raleigh Deputy Fire Marshall Ronald Campbell.

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