High Fire Danger Could Impact Open Burning Season

LaFayette, GA – With the arrival of October, Georgia’s seasonal burn ban, which impacts Walker and 53 other counties, comes to a close.  While burning is allowed from October 1st through April 30th, residents need to obtain a permit and be aware of what is legal and illegal to burn.

Fire Inspector Jeff Roerdink with Walker County Fire Rescue says “the things that you can burn right now are pretty much going to be natural vegetation. Which means, if you had a tree fall down on your property you can burn those limbs, you can burn those leaves.”

Burning construction materials, like treated lumber or shingles, is prohibited… as well as tires, plastics and household garbage.  “Garbage is a definite no go,” says Roerdink.  “There are a lot of chemicals in the trash we generally throw out, like plastic bottles, that would put off gases and smoke into the atmosphere that is harmful for people to breath.”

There is no cost to obtain a permit from the Georgia Forestry Commission. Simply visit GaTrees.org or call 1-877-OK-2-BURN. Permits are good for one day, from 8:00 a.m. to sundown. If caught burning without a permit, you could be fined.

This year, due to drought conditions, Georgia Forestry will be issuing permits on a day to day basis in an effort to prevent wildfires.  The decision to burn will be based on the weather and permits may be restricted due to the fire danger forecast.

“There’s a five step fire danger system used nationally, and right now Georgia is in the four to five categories, indicating very high fire danger,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Chief of Protection Frank Sorrells.

When you do burn, Roerdink suggests taking a few precautions to keep your burn pile from getting away from you.  “Keep it down to a small pile. And keep a 25 foot clearance around that area so if you are burning, it’s not going to get away from you. Make sure it’s down to the soil, bare dirt.”

You should also keep water and a shovel close by and never leave your fire unattended.

For additional information about open burning, permitting requirements and fire conditions, visit GaTrees.org.

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