Mon., October 1, 2012 5:04am (EDT)

Summer Outdoor Burn Ban Ends
By Joshua Stewart
Updated: 2 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
The annual summer burn ban for 54 north Georgia counties is over, but property owners will still need a permit to burn piles of leaves and limbs. (Photo Courtesy of <a href=http://www.flickr.com/photos/kennys2468/7033003803/>KennyS2468 via Flickr</a>.)
The annual summer burn ban for 54 north Georgia counties is over, but property owners will still need a permit to burn piles of leaves and limbs. (Photo Courtesy of KennyS2468 via Flickr.)
The end of the September means the end of a state-imposed ban on burning yard and land-clearing debris in much of north Georgia.

The state Environmental Protection Division enacts the summer ban on outdoor open fires in 54 counties stretching from Dalton to Macon because fires release chemicals and particles that contribute to a thicker ozone, which can irritate the lungs.

With it lifted, you’ll still have to get a permit from the Georgia Forestry Commission before you can set leaves and limbs ablaze, and you can’t just burn anything combustible. The commission’s Wendy Burnett said, generally, only debris made by nature can be burned.

“Even if it’s something as mundane as a piece of treated lumber, there are chemicals in there that can really wreak havoc and cause some damage, so we recommend that you take anything not made by nature to the landfill,” Burnett said.

Burnett said burn permits are fairly easy to get by phone or online as long as weather conditions don’t pose a threat.

“If it’s really dry outside and windy, those are the two primary weather factors that we look at," she said. "Obviously, if the wind is blowing, it can really take your fire and push it farther than you intended for it to go and help it to get out of control very quickly.”

The permits do not allow burning household garbage, which is always prohibited in Georgia because of the dangerous pollution it can release.