Warm, dry weather makes controlled brush fires challenging

Warm, dry weather makes controlled brush fires challenging
Kelly Harcrow, Battalion Chief, AFD (Source: WALB)
Kelly Harcrow, Battalion Chief, AFD (Source: WALB)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - With the warmer and drier weather we've been experiencing, some folks have decided to take the opportunity to dispose of debris.

Over the weekend, Kelly Harcrow said they received seven calls regarding people burning natural debris.

He said there are regulations you must follow if you want to burn anything.

First, you must get a permit to burn. If you do not have a permit to burn you can be fined up to $1,000 and a year imprisonment. To get a burn permit you can call 1-877-952-2876.

Second, you must burn natural materials like tree limbs, leaves and pine needles. Burning household garbage is illegal. A maximum fine you can face is up to $25,000 per day.

Third, to be a legal burn pile you must be farther than 50 feet from any structure, or 15 feet from a structure if a metal drum is used.

And with the dry conditions, Harcrow is cautioning folks who want to burn now.

"It may be better to wait until we get a rain to come in, or if not, it's a good idea to take a garden hose and wet around the area that you're going to burn," said Harcrow, "Wet it down well so the fire won't spread past that because that is pretty well saturated with water and it won't allow it to spread as quickly."

You are able to burn between 8 a.m. and before dark.

And someone must be present with a garden hose or extinguisher the entire time while burning.

"Really where a lot of the problems come into, they go inside and actually forget they were burning," explained Harcrow, "Or a lot of times at night it's not completely out and then it will continue to burn and it will spread from there."

Harcrow warns about transferring debris to be burned elsewhere.

"If you have somebody clean up your property and they have someone load it on their truck or something they can't take it somewhere else and burn it," said Harcrow. "Once it's onto a vehicle it becomes solid waste and it has to go to a landfill."

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