Burn ban put in effect across state

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

COVINGTON -- The Georgia Forestry Commission has announced a statewide ban on outdoor burning until further notice.

GFC Chief Ranger Mike Sapp, in charge of the District 4 office that covers DeKalb, Henry, Newton and Rockdale counties, said the ban has been spurred by dry conditions, as well as ranger assistance needed in regard to wildfires now raging in South Georgia.

"We just have extremely dry conditions right now, a very high fire danger," he said. "And there are a lot of large fires down in South Georgia and we're having to send a lot of our people down there."

Sapp said conditions usually dry out this time of the year, and it seems to have gotten worse in the last several weeks.

"Hopefully, we'll get some rain and we'll be able to start issuing permits again," Sapp said.

GFC Chief of Forest Protection Alan Dozier said, however, relief is not in sight long-term.

"We're in a La Nina weather system, which means that the weather is dry now and will more than likely stay dry for the immediate future," he said. "Wind gusts were strong at times (Friday), which made conditions ripe for fires."

Just Thursday, GFC firefighters responded to 71 wildfires that burned nearly 950 acres statewide.

Sapp said to find out when the burn is lifted and it is safe to burn again, call 1-877-652-2876 or go to the GFC website at www.gatrees.org.

The seasonal burn ban will be in effect May 1 through Sept. 30.