The Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) launched a new online system this week that makes it more efficient for forestland owners and managers to use prescribed fire on their property:
Certified burners can now apply for a burn permit up to 48 hours prior to their planned burn.
“This is a major modernization of our system,” said Georgia Forestry Commission Director Tim Lowrimore. “Certified burners now have all the necessary planning tools at their fingertips, including up-to-date weather information and smoke-modeling maps. The GFC can analyze the data and approve permits when conditions allow, which gives burners more time to adapt to daily circumstances.”
While certified burners can apply for their permit up to 48 hours in advance of their burn, the request cannot be made later than noon the day before. This time frame allows the GFC ample time to evaluate the permit request. Anything after 12 noon the day before or the day of will still require a phone call to acquire a permit. This system is not intended for leaf and limb pile-type burns that no longer require a permit.
Specialized training is required to become a certified burner in Georgia. The GFC offers classes and resources that allow individuals to become certified. The new website creates a way for certified burners to register their credentials and then use the system to log all the particulars of their intended burn. The GFC acts within 24 hours of the burn to grant or deny permits, allowing burners to adjust their schedules and crew assignments based on the latest burning and weather conditions.
Data gathered via this new system is considered by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) to be of higher quality than previously available. Information documenting latitude and longitude, vegetation type, and moisture levels produce more specific data used for emission calculations. These details provide high-quality data that can be used to model air quality and health for communities all the way up to the regional level, where set standards are required. The Georgia EPD provided support for the Environmental Protection Agency grant that made the creation of the GFC online system possible.
Certified burners can register to use the system at https://georgiafc-burnpermit.firesponse.com/. For more information about becoming a certified burner go to https://gatrees.org/fire-prevention-suppression/prescribed-burn-certification/. To learn more about services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit GaTrees.org.