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Ban on outdoor burning lifted

Posted: October 7, 2014 - 11:02pm
Firefighters battled a brush fire on Deerwood Lane last year after a burning pile of yard debris got out of control. The ban on outdoor burning in Columbia County was lifted on Oct. 1.  file
file
Firefighters battled a brush fire on Deerwood Lane last year after a burning pile of yard debris got out of control. The ban on outdoor burning in Columbia County was lifted on Oct. 1.

The annual ban on outdoor burning ended Oct. 1 and lots of Columbia County residents took advantage of their ability to burn.

The Georgia Forestry Com-mission issued 1,357 permits in the first five days the ban was lifted, according the Columbia-Richmond County forestry office.

“We’ve had quite a few,” said Larry Felix, the chief ranger who oversees the unit.

The statewide ban on outdoor burning prevents residents from burning yard debris May through September because it contributes to ground-level ozone and poor air quality, according to the Environmental Protection Division.

The Forestry Commission issues burn permits good for one day. The permit allows residents to burn hand-piled vegetation on their own property. Burning man-made materials – tires, shingles and plastics – is not allowed.

“The only thing they can burn is small limbs, twigs and leaves,” Columbia County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Danny Kuhlmann said. “Absolutely no garbage.”

The ground should be raked clean of debris before the fire. Kuhlmann recommends always having a shovel and a water hose nearby in case the fire gets out of control.

“They must remain with the fire at all times,” Kuhlmann said, and it must be extinguished at dark.

If neighbors complain, firefighters will respond and ask the homeowner to extinguish the fire, even if it is properly permitted.

If an unpermitted burn gets out of control, the homeowner could be liable for the fire-suppression charges.

Though burning is allowed, Felix suggests other means of disposing of yard debris.

“They have other options they can do,” Felix said.

Residents can compost their debris, mulch it or take it to a landfill. He also recommended checking with garbage service providers because many provide options for yard waste disposal.

To obtain a permit or for questions, call 1 (877) OK-2-BURN (652-2876) or visit www.gatrees.org.

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