Wildfire danger is on the increase across Georgia. Winds coupled with dry conditions in many areas has prompted the Georgia Forestry Commission to prepare for the elevated threat of wildfires by discouraging outdoor burning this weekend.
“We are asking everyone who may be planning to conduct any outdoor burning to postpone their plans until conditions change,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Forest Protection Chief Frank Sorrells. “Elevated winds and dry conditions will cause open burning to be difficult to control and will cause wildfires to spread rapidly.” Sorrells said the GFC is closely monitoring conditions but warns that these conditions may actually get worse before they get better in the next few days and possibly weeks.
“Georgia law requires five things for any outdoor burning, one of which is to take reasonable precautions to prevent the escape of burn piles,” Sorrells said. “Burning during high wildfire danger conditions would go directly against that requirement, and wildfires resulting from escaped debris burns could result in serious consequences.”
Georgians must follow the laws concerning hand piled natural vegetation, requiring pre-burning safety precautions, which can be remembered by the acronym, SSTAR:
- SPACE – Be 25 feet from any forestland or flammable vegetation
- SPACE – Be 50 feet from any structure (homes, shed, barns, etc.)
- TIME – Burn only from sunrise to sunset
- ATTENDANCE – Never leave your fire unattended and it must be out when you leave. (no heat remaining)
- REASONABLE PRECAUTIONS – take precautions to prevent escaped fires to include clearing around the burn location down to mineral soil; on-hand pressurized water sources that can reach all areas around the burning; hand tools such as rakes or shovels to help control the fire.
“We ask everyone to be aware of the current wildfire danger and take responsible actions to prevent wildfires from occurring,” said Sorrells.
For more information about fire weather, fire safety, and services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit GaTrees.org.