Residents should think twice before burning outdoors now and through the month of September. The Georgia Forestry Commission has issued a burn ban for Douglas County and northern Georgia.
In 54 Georgia counties, including Douglas, outdoor burning is prohibited by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) between May 1st – September 30th.
The ozone in the air can reach unhealthy levels during hotter weather. Ozone is formed when volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides react in the presence of sunlight. A major source of these pollutants is the burning of fuels and combustible materials. The Georgia EPD has identified open burning as a significant contributor of the pollutants that form ozone. Summer temperatures cause changes in the air that, when mixed with burning, can create toxins and quickly become uncontrollable when combined with wind. Health experts say elevated ozone and particulate matter may contribute to breathing issues, watery eyes, lung and heart disease.
The ban includes all of Metro Atlanta, including Douglas, Paulding, Coweta, and Carroll Counties. The Douglas County Fire/EMS Department will not be issuing any outdoor burning permits during this time period, and will be locally enforcing the State declaration.
The ban does not apply to cooking and grilling outdoors. Campfires and barbeques are also exempt.
The ban does include household garbage, yard and land-clearing debris.
Failure to adhere to the burn ban may result in fines.
While it may seem simple to burn off a few limbs, sparks from burning yard waste are the number one cause of wildfires in Georgia, accounting for more than half of the wildfires in the state. During the summer months, grasses and other vegetation are normally dry and can easily and quickly catch fire. The burn ban will aid in the reduction of wildfires.
The burn ban is mandated by the State of Georgia for the safety and protection of all residents.