Burn ban runs through Sept.

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL -

Polk and 53 other Georgia coun­ties are un­der an out­door burn­ing ban that runs through Sept. 30.

The Georgia En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Di­vi­sion’s ban, which started Wed­nes­day, has been in place dur­ing the sum­mer ozone sea­son since 2005. It in­cludes the North­west Georgia coun­ties of Bar­tow, Ca­toosa, Chat­tooga, Floyd, Gor­don, Har­al­son, Pauld­ing, Pickens and Walker coun­ties.

The open burn­ing ban pro­hibits cit­i­zens and busi­nesses from burn­ing yard and land­clear­ing de­bris. This is in ad­di­tion to the rule that pro­hibits the burn­ing of house­hold garbage. Burn­ing house­hold garbage is never al­lowed any­where in Georgia.

Ground-level ozone is most com­monly pro­duced in the heat of the sum­mer. It can cause lung in­flam­ma­tion as well as other health prob­lems, ac­cord­ing to the EPD. 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,” said Karen Hays, chief of the Georgia EPD Air Pro­tec­tion Branch.

Recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties such as camp­fires and grilling are ex­empt from the open burn­ing ban. Burn­ing veg­e­ta­tive ma­te­ri­als at agri­cul­tural op­er­a­tions are also ex­empt but a per­mit is re­quired. They’re avail­able through the Georgia Forestry Com­mis­sion on­line at GaTrees. Org or by call­ing 1-877-OK2BURN.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the open burn­ing ban, visit the EPD.Georgia.Gov web­site.

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