All outside burning is once again banned in all of Fayette County, and public safety officials say the temporary ban won’t be lifted until the region gets enough rain to abate the current drought situation.
So, until further notice, stop your outside burning.
Incidentally, you may want to check with your landlord and/or insurance provider before burning anything other than firewood in your fireplace as well.
While summertime burning is traditionally banned in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area, the ban is normally lifted by October each year, but most years are not as dry as this one has been. Georgia and much of the Southeast is in a “persistent drought” situation, according to the National Weather Service.
As Fayette County’s 126,300 acres consists of about 27 percent forested land, Fayette County becomes especially susceptible to wild fires.
Earlier this week, firefighters with the Fayette County Department of Fire and Emergency Services responded to two in-county brush fires and assisted on a third one just over the Fulton County line in Fairburn. According to Deputy Fire Chief Tom Bartlett, that Fairburn fire was located on property behind the Bedford School. He said there were no injuries and the fire was able to be extinguished before it reached the school.
A dump truck owned by a Senoia Road resident wasn’t so lucky. Bartlett said one of the Fayette County fires involved a burning barrel that was not completely extinguished Tuesday night. He said overnight the fire spread to into surrounding grass and shrubs and eventually engulfed the man’s dump truck. Firefighters responded around 6:45 a.m. Wednesday to put out the flames.
The other brush fire took place on Betsill Road, down near Inman, and Bartlett said, again, no people were hurt but the fire could have been devastating had it not been put out by firefighters in time. He said an investigation turned up no clues as to how the fire started.
“We won’t allow any burning until we get some significant rain,” Bartlett said. And even then, he said he wants to remind residents living in his department’s jurisdiction, which includes all of Fayette County except for Peachtree City and Fayetteville, that permits must be obtained daily for permission to burn. Those permits, when conditions allow for them, are available on the Fayette County, Georgia website.
Fayetteville Fire Chief Alan Jones said outdoor burning has been suspended in the City of Fayetteville as well, though he noted that some residents have needed reminders in recent days.
“We’re asking people to use common sense, even if the burn ban is lifted,” Jones said. He noted that unfavorable conditions can arise even on a day when burning permits have already been granted. In those cases, he says, “Just wait until its safe to burn.”
Jones said the ideal time to do outdoor burning, assuming the location itself is away from brush, trees and structures, is when the weather is clear and not windy and when the ground and vegetation have received plenty of recent rain.
And, believe it or not, burning outside in the rain is also unsafe. The danger is not so much that a fire could get out of control in a downpour, but Jones notes that the atmospheric humidity in even a light rain will keep smoke low to the ground, which can endanger those close to the fire and even neighbors in a wide area around the fire.
In any case, Jones says never use accelerants.
Fayetteville Fire Captain Keith Harris said Friday afternoon that the city has not had much more than a couple of unattended fires, some smoke reports, and one fence partially burned by fire from a nearby burn barrel. He reiterated that people need to just not burn anything at all until further notice and lots of rain.