The annual Burn Ban goes into effect today. This ban burns outdoor open banning from May 1 through Sept. 30 for 54 counties in Georgia, including Walton, Gwinnett and surrounding counties. There are different levels for different counties and Gwinnett and Rockdale fall in the Metro Atlanta District and Walton and Newton counties fall under the Northeast District Office. You can view the Summer Burn Ban Map.
According to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, it imposes restrictions on outdoor open burning to comply with Federal Clean Air Regulations. During the summer months in Georgia, the ozone in the air we breathe can reach unhealthy levels and the EPD has identified outdoor open burning as a significant contributor of the pollutants that form ozone. Consequently, outdoor open burning in metro Atlanta and larger counties is restricted during the warm-weather season.
Gwinnett County Fire Department noted that the safe use of campfires and BBQ grills is still allowed and does not require a permit. As always, people are urged to exercise extreme caution when using grills or campfires. In Gwinnett County, the use of charcoal, wood and gas grills on combustible balconies or within 10 feet of combustible construction is prohibited year-round for commercial buildings and apartments under the Gwinnett County Fire Ordinance.
The following types of outdoor open burning are banned:
- The outdoor open burning ban prohibits the burning of yard and land-clearing debris during the months of May through September. This includes a ban on the use of air curtain destructors for land clearing.
The following types of outdoor open burning are still allowed, provided the proper permits are obtained:
- Fires for agricultural practices in areas zoned RA-200/residential agricultural or a Forestry Service prescribed burn.
- All bonfires for activities sponsored by educational, civic, religious, or other groups for the purpose of celebration are required to be permitted.
- Fires for the purpose of training of firefighting personnel.
For additional information concerning the summer open burning ban, visit https://epd.georgia.gov/air-protection-branch/open-burning-rules-georgia/summer-open-burning-ban.
For additional information on outdoor burning in Gwinnett County, visit www.gwinnettfiremarshal.com or contact the Community Risk Reduction Division at 678.518.4980.
Counties included in the ban and the appropriate EPD District Office phone numbers follow:
- Metro Atlanta District Office
- Counties included: Carroll, Clayton, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Heard, Henry, Rockdale, Spalding.
- Northeast District Office (Athens)
- Counties included: Banks, Barrow, Butts, Clarke, Hall, Jackson, Jasper, Madison, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Putnam, Walton.
What are the rules of the open burning ban?
Don’t burn anything from May 1 – September 30.
Some exceptions include:
- Agricultural burning exemption
- Forestry “prescribed burning” exemption*
- Campfires or barbeques
- Fire-fighting training exemption provided appropriate permit is issued
- Operation of open flame equipment exemption
- Explosive disposal in accordance with U.S. Department of Labor Safety Regulations
*Not exempted in the 19 county metro Atlanta non-attainment area: Bartow, Carroll, Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Newton, Paulding, Spalding, Rockdale and Walton.
Failure to adhere to the burn ban during May – September may result in fines.