Local News

Should Pine Straw Be Banned Around Homes in Raleigh?

Posted March 27, 2008

— Investigators are still trying to determine what caused a fire that displaced 29 residents of a Raleigh apartment complex on Wednesday.

They also are looking at dried pine straw used mulch around the building. Although they don't think pine straw caused the Concord Apartments fire, they say it has potential to help fuel fires.

"With the humidity conditions right, with the wind conditions right, you could start a brush fire very easily," said Tim Henshaw, a fire protection engineer with the Raleigh Fire Department.

Eighteen months ago, dry conditions and wind fueled a townhouse fire started by discarded smoking materials in pine straw at the Pine Knolls Townes complex in North Raleigh. Thirty-eight units were destroyed.

City leaders considered banning pine straw near homes after the fire, but instead issued a recommendation that it be kept 10 feet away from residences.

"I have not heard any compelling reason why we should start banning these kinds of materials," Raleigh City Councilman Rodger Koopman said.

Koopman questions how such a rule could be enforced anyway, saying a rule would be too intrusive into residents' lives.

Chapel Hill leaders have banned pine straw near some commercial and multifamily buildings. The rule came after a string of fires there last year. The common factor in those fires was discarded smoking materials.


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  • jackadoo Mar 28, 2008

    what a joke, sorta like outlawing guns will stop the killing.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Mar 28, 2008

    "Koopman questions how such a rule could be enforced anyway, saying a rule would be too intrusive into residents' lives."

    Yet, Koopman had no problem voting "yes" to ban garbage disposals.

  • jedichick Mar 28, 2008

    how 'bout just plain cement and steel buildings with plexiglass windows and concrete yards out in front? If there continue to be bans on things like landscaping and building materials then that's what we will be left with!

  • Shrimpbait Mar 28, 2008

    Wheelman - great idea!

    And silly me stopped at the request to build fires! Banning oxygen will definitely close that loophole!

  • magicbus Mar 28, 2008


  • Wheelman Mar 28, 2008

    If they banned oxygen around building then there would be no fires! They wouldn't be inhabitable, but they wouldn't burn. Government is sucking the life out of everything else so this shouldn't be a problem for them.

  • oldrebel Mar 28, 2008

    When pine straw is outlawed, only outlaws will have pinestraw.

  • doodad Mar 28, 2008

    Ban structures built with young pine lumber and vinyl siding (plastics fuel fires)

    Pine straw mulching is not ugly, it's natural. I guess you prefer a dirt yard with no grass or "artificial" painted mulch. El tacko.

  • veyor Mar 28, 2008

    Garden, no, it's not a communist country. They don't have pine straw. Neither will we after the end of one of the three stooges' presidencies.

  • der_Marv_meister Mar 28, 2008

    How about this novel approach: Let the apartment communities, on their own, decide what is or isn't banned and let them foot the cost to such a decision and keep government out of it!
    Pine straw mulching is ugly and contributes to fire I am sure, but it is not the start. People and their stupidity (most times) are the cause.