Athens-Clarke and Oconee are among the more than four dozen north Georgia counties included in an outdoor burn ban now in place through the summer.
From the Oconee Co government website…
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division open burning ban will be in effect for 54 Georgia counties. The open burning ban has been in place during the summer ozone season since 2005.
The ban prohibits citizens and businesses from burning yard and land-clearing debris during the summer ozone season, which runs from May 1 through September 30. This is in addition to the rule that prohibits the burning of household garbage. Burning household garbage is never allowed anywhere in Georgia.
“We typically see air quality issues in Georgia during the summer because the hot weather helps to create ground level ozone,” said Karen Hays, Chief of the EPD Air Protection Branch. “Ozone pollution can cause inflammation of the lungs and can lead to other health-related issues.”
Recreational activities such as campfires and grilling are exempt from the open burning ban. Burning of vegetative materials at agricultural operations is also exempt.
Some Georgia counties and cities have burning restrictions that are more stringent than the EPD open burning ban. EPD recommends that citizens check with their local Fire Marshall and the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) before conducting any burning. Permits for hand-piled, natural vegetation collected on site can be secured online at https://gatrees.org/fire-prevention-suppression/burn-permits/ or by calling 1-877-OK2-BURN. Permits for any other types of burning should be obtained by contacting the county GFC office.
Citizens can access more information on the open burning ban by visiting https://epd.georgia.gov/ and clicking on “Open Burning Rules for Georgia” under Popular Topics, or by calling the EPD District Office serving their area.
Counties included in the ban and contact information for the corresponding EPD District Office are as follows:
- Mountain District Office (Atlanta): 404-362-2671 Carroll, Clayton, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Heard, Henry, Rockdale, and Spalding counties.
- Northeast District Office (Athens): 706-369-6376 Banks, Barrow, Butts, Clarke, Hall, Jackson, Jasper, Madison, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Putnam, and Walton counties.
- East Central District Office (Augusta): 706-667-4343 Columbia and Richmond counties.
- West Central District Office (Macon): 478-751-6612 Bibb, Crawford, Houston, Jones, Lamar, Monroe, Peach, Pike, Twiggs, Upson, Meriwether, and Troup counties.
- Mountain District Office (Cartersville): 770-387-4900 Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Dawson, Floyd, Forsyth, Gordon, Haralson, Lumpkin, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, and Walker counties.
For more information about alternatives to burning, such as composting and chipping, please visit https://epd.georgia.gov/air-protection-branch/open-burning-rules-georgia/alternatives-burning.
Debris can also be hauled to a commercial processing/grinding/composting operation or to an inert or construction and demolition landfill. For a list of landfills in your area, please call EPD’s Solid Waste Management Program at 404-362-2692 and/or visit the Land Protection Branch website for more details: http://epd.georgia.gov/land-protection-branch