“You typically start seeing some lower humidities, leaves start falling and you have more people out burning,” said Ranger 2 Adam Greeson. “Surrounding counties have been under a burn ban that was lifted October 1st, an Environmental Protection Division rule because of air quality issues over the summer months and not because of fire danger.
To burn outdoors, a permit is required for almost everything, according to Greeson.
“If they want to burn hand-piled brush and yard debris, they can call 1-877-652-2876 and obtain a permit through the automated system, or they can go online at gatrees.org,” Greeson said.
“If they want to burn what we call machine-piled brush, such using a dozer, etc. they should call the local office at 706-695-3422.”
Greeson said backyard bonfires using legal materials such as natural vegetation and campfires are not required to have permits.
There are a few precautions to take when burning outdoors according to Greeson, even with a permit.
“Make sure that basically it's clear between three and four feet around the burn area and between any other dry grass or brush or flammable material,” Greeson said. “If the wind is blowing, that space should be increased to avoid the flames jumping to other combustible materials. It’s good to have a water hose or some sort of water supply handy. Do not, under any circumstances, leave the fire unattended.”
If the fire gets out of control, call 911. Fire can travel quickly depending on the wind and weather conditions. Wind and terrain, such as burning uphill, make the biggest difference.
Greeson said the fire must be completely out by nightfall.
“Put water on it,” Greeson said. “Ideally put water on it, stir and add some more water to avoid a rekindling of the blaze overnight.”
Anyone with large brush piles or acreage that they are worried about burning, Forestry can assist and stand by with equipment for a fee.
Last year, during the fire season, there were about 15 fires in MC, burning around 150 acres of land. There were also a few outbuildings destroyed by fire.