Richmond and Columbia County residents can start burning those backyard leaf piles Oct. 1, when a seasonal ban on outdoor burning is lifted.
The ban, which began May 1, affects 54 Georgia counties, is part of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division’s effort to reduce ozone and particle emissions that are most dangerous during warm-weather months.
Although the ban will be lifted Oct. 1, anyone burning yard debris must obtain a free permit.
“Georgians who want to burn outdoor debris piles must always get a burn permit,” said Frank Sorrells, the chief of protection for the Georgia Forestry Commission, which administers the permit program to ensure burning is conducted when local weather conditions are favorable.
The permits can be obtained online at Georgia Forestry Commission’s Web address, GaTrees.org, or can be obtained by calling (877) OK2-BURN.
The seasonal ban prohibits residents and businesses from outdoor burning of yard and land-clearing debris. The rule is in addition to a statewide, year-round ban on burning household garbage, plastic, roofing shingles, tires and similar items. Some actions, such as campfires and agricultural activities, are exempt from the ban.
The open burning ban began in 1996 with the 13-county metro Atlanta area and expanded to other parts of the state in 2005.