Fayette County News

Fayette County


Fire officials respond to more illegal outdoor burning

A Georgia Forestry representative used a bulldozer to cut a break in the landscape to help keep a spreading fire from damaging nearby Fayette homes. (Photo courtesy of the Fayette County Department of Fire and Emergency Services)

Smokey Bear would be shaking his head in disapproval if he knew some people are still ignoring reactivated outdoor burning bans in the Atlanta area.
Conditions are too dry for safe outdoor burning, and the State of Georgia has ceased issuing commercial burn permits due to what the National Weather Service calls a “persistent drought” throughout the Southeast United States. Following that lead, Fayette’s three fire and rescue agencies have all announced complete outdoor burning bans for residential burning as well.
Violators of the burn ban can be issued citations, and Fayette County’s Deputy Fire Chief Tom Bartlett said that is certainly what will happen in the unincorporated portions of the county.
“The fire marshal is not shy,” Bartlett said, only half-joking. “If they do it in unincorporated Fayette County, they will get a ticket.”
Bartlett’s comments came on the heels of his department having to respond to a “controlled burn” in Fulton County along Peters Road that was not-so-well controlled and crossed the border onto residential land in Fayette. He reported that his colleagues kept a safety vigil on the site to make sure the fire didn’t spread close to homes in the area while Georgia Forestry Commission representatives created a natural break in the landscape to keep the fire from spreading.
“We made sure it didn’t get over the break,” Bartlett said. He noted that an earlier break had been made to contain the initial burn, but the fire jumped over the break. He said the second one was more successful, and he said no structures or people were harmed.
Bartlett said a man on the Fulton County side of the line had taken it upon himself to initiate the so-called controlled burn even though Fulton County also has reactivated their complete outdoor burning ban.
“Evidently, this man was burning outside of the burn ban,” Bartlett said.
Last week, City of Fayetteville fire officials reported that a city resident had been burning personal paperwork outside and had ducked inside to answer a phone call when embers jumped from the burn pile and set a fence and portions of trees on fire.
In Peachtree City, it was reported that a mulch pile in a state of decomposition spontaneously combusted, setting nearby brush on fire in the area of Peninsula Drive.
Local fire officials say outdoor burning bans will remain in place until the region gets much needed rainfall. And even then, would-be burners need to check with the fire department serving their jurisdiction to see if it is permissible to burn on that day.

By Danny Harrison

Danny Harrison, a 1992 Fayette High School graduate, began his journalism career with Fayette County News in 1995. After taking several leaves of absence to pursue journalism and Christian ministry opportunities, including a few out of state and overseas, he returned full-time to Fayette County News in August 2014. Harrison earned a bachelor's degree in pastoral ministry in 2009 while serving as a missionary journalist in England and Western Europe.