Firefighters warn of brush fires during hot, dry weather

Be careful with fires....

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Albany firefighters are receiving an increase in calls about controlled burns.

The weather can have an impact on how quickly your brush fire can spread.

The Albany area has not seen any rain in two weeks, making the ground really dry. And controlled burns can easily get out of hand if you’re not careful.

Kelly Harcrow, AFD Battalion Chief (Source: WALB)
Kelly Harcrow, AFD Battalion Chief (Source: WALB)

AFD Battalion Chief Kelly Harcrow said if you’re burning, you must burn natural vegetation like yard debris. Burning household garbage is illegal.

Before you can even start a fire, it is crucial to get a forestry permit for controlled burns.

You have to have a legal burn pile further than 50 feet from any structure, or 15 feet from a structure if a metal drum is used.

The piles you burn are supposed to be hand piled, so you can’t use heavy machinery to create a large pile.

If you do not have a permit to burn you can be fined up to $1,000 and face a year in jail. The maximum fine you can face is up to $25,000 per day.

“They’re predicting temperatures as close to 100 degrees by the weekend,” explained Harcrow, “As long as those temperatures continue to rise, the moisture content of the ground is going to decrease, which is going to make it more brittle, and more hazardous as far as the spread of the fire.”

Harcrow said it’s even more important for you to keep a watchful eye on the fire while you’re burning.

You can have a controlled burn between 8 a.m. and dusk and you must have a garden hose or extinguisher the entire time while burning.

You can call 1-877-OK2-BURN to get a Georgia Forestry Commission burning permit.

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