Georgia’s annual ban on outdoor burning ends at midnight Sept. 30, clearing the way for residents to use a fast, new burn permitting system provided by the Georgia Forestry Commission.
By logging on to GaTrees.org, users statewide can instantly receive a permit to burn hand-piled natural vegetation, when conditions in their communities are safe.
“Fifty-four counties, mostly in north Georgia, will have burn bans lifted that are imposed every year by the state Environmental Protection Division to comply with federal clean air regulations,” said Alan Dozier, chief of forest protection for the Georgia Forestry Commission.
The new 24-hour burn permitting process allows users to click through a simple online template that swiftly analyzes weather conditions, records user requests, and issues a numbered permit for use that day. Permits issued after dark are valid the following day. Residents who prefer to phone in their requests can call (877) 652-2876.
Permits are required for burning all natural vegetation that is hand piled, including leaf piles on the premises where they fall, and vegetative debris from storm damage, weed abatement, disease and/or pest prevention.
It is unlawful to burn all man-made materials such as tires, shingles, plastic and lumber. Failure to secure a valid burn permit may result in penalties. If an unpermitted fire escapes and causes wildfire, suppression charges will be levied. The average suppression charge is $200.
Dozier noted that with mild to moderate drought conditions spreading across Georgia, extra caution will be necessary for anyone planning to burn outdoors.
For fire safety tips and information about Georgia’s forest resource, visit GaTrees.org.