Ready, set, burn!
After a five-month ban that ended Tuesday, residents in Columbia, Richmond and 52 other Georgia counties once again are allowed to burn outdoors.
The seasonal restrictions, which began May 1, are part of a broader effort to protect air quality across the state’s central and northern regions.
The permitting program requires residents who want to burn fall leaves or yard debris to obtain a free permit online or by phone from the Georgia Forestry Commission.
“Georgians who want to burn outdoor debris piles must always get a burn permit,” said Frank Sorrells, the chief of protection for the Forestry Commission. “They’re easy to secure online when local weather conditions are favorable.”
If conditions are too dry or too windy to allow safe burning, the permits may be denied.
The burning restrictions in the 54 counties were lifted Tuesday.
“As always, we’re asking anyone who gets a permit to be extremely careful about burning debris,” Sorrells said. “Even though we’ve had a lot of rain in past months, escaped burning remains Georgia’s No. 1 cause of wildfire. One spark that flies onto fallen leaves and branches is enough to ignite a dangerous fire.”
Safety gear to have on hand before lighting a fire includes a shovel, hose, and a cell phone to call 9-1-1 if needed.
Only natural, hand-piled vegetation may be burned; it is unlawful to burn man-made materials such as tires, shingles and plastics. Residents seeking permission to burn larger areas or agricultural burns should contact their local Georgia Forestry Commission office.