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Cary restricts use of pine straw around buildings

Posted May 16, 2010

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— The Cary Town Council on Thursday approved a revision to the city's fire codes that restricts the use of pine straw around all but single-family residences.

The code revisions cites fire dangers posed by pine straw, which is a cheap, popular landscaping tool but studies say is also highly flammable.

The rules bans using pine straw within 10 feet of multifamily dwellings and commercial buildings with combustible exteriors, such as vinyl, aluminum, masonite or wood siding. The rules do not apply to detached, single-family dwellings.

The rules go into effect immediately. Violators will first get a written notice, but if violations aren't corrected in seven days, a $250 daily fine will be assessed.

Raleigh recently passed similar restrictions on pine straw, and Chapel Hill, Apex, Carrboro and Morrisville also limit its use.

Staff's recommendation to the Cary Town Council said the issue first came to the town's attention after pine straw next to units in the Pine Knolls Townes complex, off Capital Boulevard in Raleigh, helped spread a February 2007 fire that damaged or destroyed 38 townhouses.

Since 2006, Cary firefighters have responded to approximately 35 fires at multifamily and commercial building in which pine straw was a contributing factor, staff wrote.

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  • rexosborne May 18, 2010

    Thank you Town of Cary for Another Piece of legislation to protect us from ourselves.....How would you like to pay for the removal of this material and have to replace it? Please find something more important to do with your time and our money.

  • ForTheLoveOf May 17, 2010

    Because vinyl, masonite, and aluminum siding is combustible? I mean, I know it burns, but....wow. You can't legislate EVERY minor safety issue...Might as well go ahead and start mandating that everyone should be surrounded by a large air-tight bubble to prevent illness...

  • 6079 SMITH W May 17, 2010

    If I read this correctly, a study was done (for a large sum of money, no doubt) to determine that pine straw is flammable......I volunteer to "study" gasoline, acetone, and hydrogen. Boy Howdy!....is this how "professional students" get large grants to pay off their college loans? By telling municipal entities what 99% of people already know?