Tifton Gazette

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November 21, 2006

Burn permits are free, but not having them can cost

TIFTON — Whether burning to tidy up the yard for holiday visitors or burning all the boxes the presents arrived in, Tifton residents will do more burning than usual during the holiday season.

The Georgia Forestry Commission would like to remind everyone that you need a permit to burn yard debris for a six-foot-by-six-foot or smaller pile. The permit is valid for the day of the call only and all fires must be extinguished by dusk.

To burn an area larger than six feet by six feet, contact the local forestry office at 386-3346.

Residents can call the automated toll-free burn permit line at 1-877-OK-2-BURN (1-877-652-2876) or go online at http://www.gfc.state.ga.us/Online Permits/.

The permits are free, but there is a fine if you have no permit and your burning gets out of control.

“If you don’t get a permit and if we have to suppress the fire, there are charges,” Eddie Weldon with the GFC said. “The amount of the charge will depend on the equipment required to put the fire out and how much time it takes.”

Last year Tift County had 40 fires burning approximately 88.62 acres or an average of 2.22 acres per fire.

According to the GFC’s annual report, debris burning continues to be the number one cause of forest fires in Tift County.

The Tift County Forestry Unit suppressed 19 of the 40 fires from debris burning. Other causes were: incendiary (5), smoking (5), machine use (3), camp fires (3), children (3) and miscellaneous (2).

Last year GFC issued a total of 2,053 permits, issued 442 annual permits for yard debris burning, 32 online permits and 34 toll-free hotline permits.

GFC credits the permits and charges for non-permitted burning with a drop of 28 percent in the total number of wildfires in Tift County last year.

Burning permits were begun in 1988 under the Georgia Forestry Fire Protection Act.



To contact reporter Jana Cone, call 382-4321, ext. 208.

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