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Burn ban begins May 1 in Forsyth County
Brush fire
-Photo by Sebastian Pociecha, Unsplash

Georgia’s annual ban on outdoor burning begins May 1 in 47 counties, including Forsyth County. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) puts the restrictions in place during the summer months, when increases in ground level ozone may create health risks.

“From May until September 1, open burning of yard and land-clearing debris is prohibited in some counties where particulate matter pollutants and chemicals from smoke are more likely to combine with emissions from vehicles and industrial activities,” said Frank Sorrells, chief of protection for the Georgia Forestry Commission. “That’s more likely to occur in cities, where there’s more asphalt and concrete than open green space and trees to help cool and filter air. The risk of wildfire also may be high in summer, so our agencies are closely monitoring air quality and weather conditions for the safety of all Georgians.” 

The ban prohibits all outdoor burning including the burning of leaves, trash, yard debris and storm damage. The burning off of lawns is also not allowed.

Limited exceptions to the outdoor burn ban (for which no notification is required) include:

-   Recreation/cooking fires

-   Campfires in approved areas

-   Open flame equipment/tar kettles/etc.

-   Miscellaneous warming fires at construction sites. (Warming fires shall be contained within a metal barrel of 55-gallon capacity or less. Untreated wood or lumber shall be the only material or substance permitted to be burned. The container for the warming fire shall be 25 feet from any structure. No on-ground warming fires are permitted. Warming fires are only permitted when the temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less.)
The Forsyth County Fire Department shall have the authority to cause any fire to be extinguished if it is determined that there is a danger to public safety, a danger to public or private property, a nuisance or sign of environmental harm or violation of regulations.

- Person(s) in control of the property at the time of the burn are responsible for the compliance with the requirements of this Ordinance.

 If you suspect someone may be improperly burning, please report it by calling (770) 781-3083.

Violations of the outdoor burning ordinance could result in fines of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment of up to six months, according to the county’s website.