As the weather warms up and the ground becomes more dry, the Georgia Environmenta Protection Division wants Georgians to be aware of the annual open burning ban that goes into effect on May 1.

The open burning ban, which impacts 54 counties, has been in place during the summer ozone season since 2005.

Once the ban is in effect, citizens and businesses are prohibited from burning yard and land-clearning debris. The ban is in effect from May 1 to September 30. This is in addition to the rule that prohibits the burning of household garbage, which is prohibited in all counties in Georgia 365 days a year.

Recreational activities such as campfires and grilling are exempt from the open burning ban. Burning vegetative materials at agricultural operations are also exempt.

From the EPD:

Ground-level ozone is most commonly produced in the heat of the summer.  Ground-level ozone can cause lung inflammation as well as other health problems. Open burning also creates particle pollution, which consists of extremely small particles that can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

May through September is a time of year when people, particularly children, are more likely to be outdoors. The outdoor activity also coincides with the increase in ground-level ozone and particle pollution.

“The summer open burning restrictions help us improve Georgia’s air quality during the hot summer months,” Karen Hays, Chief of the Georgia EPD Air Protection Branch, said in a press release.

As a reminder – some Georgia counties and cities have burning restrictions that are more stringent than the open burning ban. You may need a burn permit from the Georgia Forestry Commission before conducting any burning.  The EPD recommends that citizens contact their local Fire Marshall and the Georgia Forestry Commission before conducting any burning.

Metro counties impacted:

  • Carroll, Clayton, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Heard, Henry, Rockdale, Spalding

Northeast counties impacted:

  • Banks, Barrow, Butts, Clarke, Hall, Jackson, Jasper, Madison, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Putnam, Walton

East counties impacted:

  • Columbia, Richmond

West central counties impacted:

  • Bibb, Crawford, Houston, Jones, Lamar, Monroe, Peach, Pike, Twiggs, Upson, Meriwether, Troup

Northern counties

  • Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Dawson, Floyd, Forsyth, Gordon, Haralson, Lumpkin, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Walker

Citizens can access more information on the open burning ban by visiting and clicking on “Open Burning Ban” under Quick Links.


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Jessica Szilagyi
Jessica Szilagyi is a Statewide Contributor for She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as agricultural news. She has a background in Political Science, with a focus in local government, and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. She's a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers."


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