Residents of 54 counties in the state of Georgia can now obtain permits to burn yard debris after a yearly summer burning ban was lifted Oct. 1.
Dawson County is included on the list of counties the state Environmental Protection Division banned from open burning this year from May 1 through Sept. 30.
Since 1996, the EPD has imposed the ban each year to comply with Federal Clean Air regulations.
“During the summer months in Georgia, the ozone in the air we breathe can reach unhealthy levels,” the Georgia Forestry Commission website reads. “The Georgia EPD has identified open burning as a significant contributor of the pollutants that form ozone.”
There are several exemptions to the rule, including agricultural burning, forestry prescribed burning, campfires, barbecues and firefighter training.
Residents can now obtain a burn permit by calling 1(877)-OK2-BURN or by visiting http://www.gatrees.org/online-permits/index.cfm.
According to the Georgia Forestry Commission, no household trash, garbage or building materials can be burned outdoors. The commission recommends keeping a water supply close to the burn site and keeping brush piles small, with all flammable material and vegetation cleared within 10 feet of the outer edge of the pile.
The local Georgia Forestry Commission office serving Dawson, Forsyth and Lumpkin counties is located at 4500 Hwy. 53 in Dawsonville and can be reached at (706) 216-2713.