Experts saying restriction on outdoor burning improves air quality
On May 1, an outdoor burn ban will begin in 54 Georgia counties, primarily in the northern half of the state. Affected residents are asked to refrain from burning yard and land clearing debris, whose smoke can negatively impact the state's air quality during the hot summer months by contributing to high ozone levels.
"These restrictions are required by the state Environmental Protection Division so that fewer chemicals and particle pollutants are released into the air," said Georgia Forestry Commission Chief of Forest Protection, Frank Sorrells. "The risk of wildfire is also high at this time, and the Georgia Forestry Commission will be closely monitoring fire activity to keep Georgians and their property safe."
The burn ban will be in effect from May 1-September 30, 2012. The 54 Georgia counties affected are: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, Coweta, Crawford, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Richmond, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Twiggs, Upson, Walker and Walton.
Residents in Georgia counties not included in the annual burn ban will continue to be required to secure a burn permit from the Georgia Forestry Commission before conducting any outside burning. Permits can be requested online at GaTrees.org, or by calling the local office of the Georgia Forestry Commission. If conditions are safe for burning, permits will be automatically granted.
"Last year unwelcome records were set in Georgia, with almost half a million acres of forest land lost to fire," said Sorrells. "We're also dealing with the effects of ongoing drought. Everyone needs to work together to ensure a safe and fire- free summer."
For more information about annual summer burn restrictions, burn permits and services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit GaTrees.org.
# # #