Starts May 1

Burn ban begins on Wednesday

by Sarah Fay Campbell

Metro Atlanta’s summer burn ban kicks in May 1, meaning Cowetans have until Tuesday to burn any yard debris or other “natural hand-piled vegetation.”

The metro Atlanta “non-attainment” area is under the burn ban for air quality each year from May 1 to Sept. 30. The only open burning allowed during the ban is recreational fire. 

Burning of debris — even a small pile of leaves or brush — requires a burn permit, available by calling 1-877-OK2-BURN or visiting www.gatrees.org. 

Permits are only “turned on” if the weather is right. And because of the weather forecast for the weekend, permits may not be issued Saturday and Sunday. 

“It’s probably going to rain Saturday and Sunday, so Monday and Tuesday are probably going to be their last chance to burn,” said Terry Quigley, chief ranger at the Coweta Office of the Georgia Forestry Commission. 

Permits aren’t issued when it is raining or when there is low cloud cover, according to Quigley. Low clouds or rain can push the smoke down, meaning it can bother neighbors. 

Whether permits are issued depends on what the weather forecast is for noon, Quigley said. Even if permits aren’t issued for the rest of the month, there won’t be any extensions, he said. 

Burning without a permit is against the law. If an non-permit burn gets out of hand, the homeowner incurs the cost of putting it out. With a permit any potential problem is covered. 

Some ways to reduce smoke from burns is to be sure debris is dry, and “clean” — that is, without a lot of dirt in it. Also, don’t start burning until after 10 a.m. or burn after dark — that’s the law, anyway.

Homeowners should stay with fires and have a hose or other source of water close at hand, along with a rake or shovel to help control the fire — and a cell phone to call 911 if things get out of control. If the fire gets out of hand, it’s better to call 911 sooner rather than later, according to Quigley. A fire department call always can be cancelled if control is regained, but delay can be disastrous. 

The only thing that it is legal to burn is “hand piled” natural vegetation.

Any man-made material, from trash to lumber, is illegal. Always. 

Illegal burning of trash can be reported to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division at 404-362-2671, the Georgia Forestry Commission at 770-254-7217 or the Coweta County Fire Department at 770-254-3900.

“And we will do what we can to find out who’s doing it,” Quigley said, cautioning that the GFC can’t follow up on anonymous tips and those reporting should have a good idea of where the illegal burn is taking place.

“We can’t just ride around following the smell,” he said.



More Local

Cheek to head state school facilities association

Coweta County School System Director of Facilities Ronnie Cheek has been named president of the Georgia Association of School Facility Admin ... Read More


Bullying in Coweta County: A victim’s story

Twelve-year-old Jennifer Jarvis knows first-hand the effects of bullying. Jarvis claims she has been bullied since the first days of element ... Read More


US citizenship requires test...and a long wait

US citizenship requirements include testing, and a long wait By Sarah Fay Campbell sarah@newnan.com On Nov. 14, more than 50 immigrants bec ... Read More


Video series depicts Battle of Brown’s Mill

Visitor’s to the Brown’s Mill Battlefield, and those around the world interested in the battle, can now view seven videos about ... Read More


Veterans to be honored at Christmas parade

Newnan’s hometown heroes will be grand marshals for this year’s Christmas parade. The parade will be Saturday, Dec. 13, beginnin ... Read More

WASA to issue up to $19.4 million in bonds

The Coweta County Water and Sewer Authority will be issuing some $19.4 million in bonds, which will be used to pay off bonds that were issue ... Read More