MACON, Ga. — An outdoor burn ban is in effect in 54 Georgia counties, primarily in the northern half of the state. Affected residents are asked to refrain from burning yard and land clearing debris, the smoke from which can negatively impact the state’s air quality during the hot summer months by contributing to high ozone levels. These conditions have been linked to lung and heart disease in humans.
“These restrictions are required by the state Environmental Protection Division so less particulate matter is released into the air,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Protection Chief, Frank Sorrells. “The risk of wildfire is also high at this time, and the Georgia Forestry Commission will be closely monitoring fire activity to keep Georgians and their property safe.”
The burn ban will be in effect until Sept. 30. The 54 Georgia counties affected are: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, Coweta, Crawford, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Richmond, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Twiggs, Upson, Walker, and Walton.
Residents in Georgia counties not included in the annual burn ban will continue to be required to follow specific fire safety guidelines and any local ordinances governing debris burning. The five safety precautions now mandated by law include set spacing between fires and woodlands and structures, burn times from sunrise to sunset, burner attendance at the fire, and reasonable precautions such as weather awareness and suppression tools. Full details including video resources can be found at www.GaTrees.org/burn-permits-and-notifications/.
“Humans are the number one cause of wildfires in Georgia,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Director Tim Lowrimore. “As outdoor recreation season begins, we need to lower the risk of wildfire by paying close attention to weather conditions and safety precautions. Everyone needs to work together to ensure an enjoyable and fire-free summer.”
For more information about annual summer burn restrictions, burn permits, and services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit www.GaTrees.org.
–Georgia Farm Bureau