Georgia’s annual ban on outdoor burning begins May 1 in 54 counties, mostly in the northern half of the state, including both Walker and Catoosa counties.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) puts the restrictions in place during the summer months, when increases in ground level ozone may create health risks.

“From May 1 until Sept. 30, open burning of yard and land-clearing debris is prohibited in some counties where particulate matter pollutants and chemicals from smoke are more likely to combine with emissions from vehicles and industrial activities,” said Frank Sorrells, chief of protection for the Georgia Forestry Commission. “Our agencies closely monitor air quality, weather conditions and open burning for the safety of all Georgians.”

The 54 counties affected by the ban are: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, Coweta, Crawford, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Richmond, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Twiggs, Upson, Walker and Walton.

May through September is the time of year when people are more likely to be outdoors.

Higher levels of ground-level ozone and particle pollution levels are recognized to contribute to human health concerns and issues.

Residents in Georgia counties not included in the annual burn ban, or wishing to conduct open burning that is exempt from the burn ban in some counties, will continue to be required to get a burn permit from the Georgia Forestry Commission before burning outdoors.

Permits can be secured online at GaTrees.org, by calling 1-877-OK2-BURN or contacting their county GFC office.

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