Bartow County residents starting today will be able to resume outdoor burning activities.
The annual statewide ban on open burning began May 1; it was issued by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and affects 54 counties in Georgia, including Bartow. The ban prohibits residents and businesses from burning yard and land-clearing debris; the rule is in addition to the year-round state ban on the burning of household garbage, according to Georgia DNR.
Summer burning restrictions are imposed annually in the primarily northern part of the state, due to air quality concerns and DNR and Environmental Protection Division regulations.
"Georgians who want to burn outdoor debris piles must always get a burn permit," Frank Sorrells, chief of protection for the Georgia Forestry Commission, said in a release. "They're easy to secure online when local weather conditions are favorable."
The Georgia Forestry Commission's web address is GaTrees.org, and permits may also be obtained by phone at 1-877-OK2-BURN.
"As always, we're asking anyone who gets a permit to be extremely careful about burning debris," said Sorrells. "Escaped burning is Georgia's number one cause of wildfire."
Safety gear to have on hand before lighting a fire includes a shovel, hose and a cell phone to call 911 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.
For more information about safe burning, burn permits and services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit GaTrees.org.