Spalding County Fire Marshall Eddie James said people still have to get a burn permit and can only burn yard debris.
“If it’s not a leaf, branch or grass clippings,” James said, “you can’t burn it.”
He said the fire has to be at least 50 feet from a structure, or 15 feet if in a barrel. Someone has to stay with the fire and have a way to put it out, James said, and “the fire must be out by nightfall.”
Even though the burn ban is expiring for this year, he said, “you can still be in violation if you don’t have a permit. It doesn’t mean you can just burn anything. You cannot burn household trash or petroleum products.”
Summer burning restrictions are imposed annually in the primarily northern part of the state, due to air quality concerns and regulations of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Division.
In August, the Spalding County Board of Commissioners authorized the Fire Department to issue citations for controlled burn violations. James said since August, the Fire Department has issued 24 citations.
“We go and put the fire out,” James said and remind people of the restrictions.
“Escaped burning is Georgia’s No. 1 cause of wildfire,” said Chief of Protection for the Georgia Forestry Commission Frank Sorrells.
The Georgia Forestry Commission will once again begin issuing burning permits as of Oct. 1. You may obtain a permit for yard debris and leaf piles from the GFC web site at www.gatrees.org. Click on Burn Permits and following the instructions.
“It is a very big help to us for citizens burning yard debris to obtain their permit from our website,” said Chief Ranger Jeff Kenerly. “The website also provides more burning and fire weather information to citizens than any other means of obtaining a permit.”
Sorrells said the permits, “are easy to secure online when local weather conditions are favorable.”
The Forestry Commissioners recommends the following safety gear to have on hand before lighting a fire — a shovel, hose and a cell phone to call 9-1-1 if needed. Only natural, hand-piled vegetation may be burned, according to the Forestry Commission, it is unlawful to burn man-made materials such as tires, shingles and plastics.
Citizens may also call the automated permit system at 1-877-652-2876. For land clearing or acreage burns you must call your local GFC office and those numbers for the Lamar, Pike, Spalding and Upson offices are 770-227-5522, 770-229-3005 or 706-646-6011.