Open burning in Columbia County now faces additional restrictions because of nearby areas that are some of the most drought-stricken in Georgia.
"The Georgia Forestry Commission advised me ... that Columbia County will be included in newly developed open burning permitting regulations due to our proximity to the Level 4 drought area," said Pam Tucker, the county's Emergency Services director.
Although the county is not in the state's driest regions, it is close enough to warrant restrictions, she said.
"What this means is that effective Dec. 1, open burning permits will only be issued when wind speeds are 12 mph or less and the relative humidity is above 30 percent," she said.
"Also, burn types, such as agriculture, that do not require a permit will be discouraged from burning according to these weather parameters."
The Forestry Commission has ceased issuance of annual permits to ensure that the new restrictions are enforced, she said.
"Our residents will notice fewer days of permitted burning, at least until there is some relief from the drought," Tucker said.
The new regulations are in addition to the regular, state-mandated complete burn ban and will remain in place from May 1 through Sept. 30.
For information, contact Emergency Services by calling (706) 868-3303, or Columbia County Forestry Chief Steve Abbott at (706) 556-3962.
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