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Have caution when burning yard debris

Posted: November 2, 2013 - 11:00pm
Spring flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses are on sale now in local nurseries. They add lots of color and visual enjoyment to early spring flower beds.   Photo by Jim Blaylock
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Spring flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses are on sale now in local nurseries. They add lots of color and visual enjoyment to early spring flower beds.

Residents across the county are finding their yards covered with leaves and pine straw and many of them are burning the debris to get rid of it. With the outdoor burn ban lifted from Oct.1 through April 30, burning is a great way to get rid of yard waste.

According to the Georgia Forestry Commission, anyone who wants to burn yard debris must obtain a burn permit from their office.

“Georgians who want to burn outdoor debris piles must always get a burn permit,” said Frank Sorrells, chief of protection for the Georgia Forestry Commission. “They’re easy to secure online when local weather conditions are favorable.”

The online Web site where burn permits can be obtained is www.GaTrees.org. Permits are also issued by phone when calling 1-877-OK-2-BURN.

“As always, we’re asking anyone who gets a permit to be extremely careful about burning debris,” said Sorrells in a recent news release from his office. “Even though we’ve had a lot of rain in past months, escaped burning remains Georgia’s number one cause of wildfire. One spark that flies onto fallen leaves and branches is enough to ignite a dangerous fire.”

Earlier this year, a controlled burn in Marion County, Ga., got out of control and destroyed a family’s home. To ensure that residents are doing their part to control a burn, the Georgia Forestry Commission strongly urges homeowners to have a shovel, hose and cell phone on hand when burning. Only natural vegetation may be burned, as it is against the law to burn man-made materials such as tires, shingles and plastics, as well as household garbage.

Outdoor fires should never be left unattended and should be extinguished by dark. To extinguish an outdoor fire, pour water on the fire, drowning all of the embers. Stir the ashes and embers with a shovel to make sure everything is wet. Dirt or sand can also be used to cool the embers and ashes.

Residents who want to burn a larger area or participate in agricultural burns should contact the local Georgia Forestry Commission office at (706) 556-3962.

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