Local forestry Unit Urges Safe Burning Practices

Posted: Aug 19, 2019

Technology is making it easier and safer to burn the back yard debris pile. A burn permit from the Georgia Forestry Commission can be easily obtained by computer or cell phone, providing information that helps forest rangers keep smoke and fire problems under control.

“It’s a matter of working together to protect our right to burn,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Burke County Chief Ranger Myron Williams. “Permits are issued when weather conditions are favorable. Knowing where those burns are taking place allows us to be ready for emergencies that may arise,” Williams said.

Residents planning to burn may log onto GaTrees.org or call 1-877-OK-2-BURN to get a permit. Only hand-piled natural vegetation can be burned; materials such as lumber or tires cannot. A permit is valid for the day of the burn. If more days are required, the GFC asks burners to simply notify them of that plan. Larger machine-piled, acreage burns are issued by the local GFC unit, whose contact information is available at GaTrees.org.

Safety is of paramount importance when planning a burn, and the GFC recommends having tools on hand to respond if flames spread. Escaped debris burning is Georgia’s number one cause of wildfire, and it is essential to keep a shovel, water, and cell phone close by if needed. Other safety tips include clearing a 25-foot or more area around the debris pile, wearing proper clothing, and never leaving a fire unattended. Smoke management is also a key concern. Being aware of wind direction that can impact neighbors or roadways is an important responsibility of citizens conducting a burn.

“Don’t be hesitant to call 9-1-1 if your burn gets away,” said Williams. “The permit helps us keep track of planned burns and map our resources. Protection of people and property is our priority.”

For more information about safe burning and services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit GaTrees.org.

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