GFC Urges Georgians to Get Burn Permits

JANUARY 19, 2005--As wildfire season begins, the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) has issued a statement reminding those who will be conducting outdoor burns that a permit is required for most types of outdoor burning.

Ken Stewart, GFC Director, said the permit process reduces the number of wildfires and saves the State hundreds of thousands of dollars in wildfire suppression costs. “Since the burn permit law was enacted in 1988, wildfires have decreased by 31 percent. Still, in 2004 more than 2,000 of Georgia’s 9,000 wildfires originated from non-permitted burns which resulted in over half a million dollars in suppression costs and needless loss of property and timber,” Stewart said.

Georgia law provides that burning without a permit is a misdemeanor with fines up to $1,000. GFC may also collect suppression charges for uncontrolled fires including those for which a permit is not obtained. Georgia wildfires average 4.5 acres in size with a suppression cost of approximately $300 each. Costs escalate on larger fires and could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in charges to the responsible party.

Alan Dozier, GFC Chief of Forest Protection, emphasized that obtaining a burn permit is simple. “All anyone has to do is call their local Georgia Forestry Commission office and request a permit for outdoor burning. Permits may also be obtained online by visiting the GFC website. If conditions are favorable, a permit will be granted.”

For further information, call 1-800-GATREES or visit www.gatrees.org.