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Easley reinstates outdoor burn ban because of drought conditions

RALEIGH (AP) -- North Carolina officials are reinstating a statewide ban on outdoor burning. Gov. Mike Easley said Wednesday that the ban will go into effect at noon Thursday. He said the state has no choice but to prohibit burning until drought conditions improve. Officials lifted the ban in early January after a batch of rains made it safe for controlled fires. Those controlled burns were used to help reduce built-up underbrush that could lead to larger and more intense wildfires later in the year. The federal U.S. drought monitor says about half of North Carolina remains under exceptional drought conditions -- the most severe category. (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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