Before you burn... TAKE 5!

The Georgia Rules for Air Quality define open burning as any outdoor fire from which the products of combustion are emitted directly into the open air without passing through a stack, chimney, or duct. All outdoor burning of natural vegetative materials is considered open burning and requires certain practices to be followed which may include burners obtaining a permit in certain situations.

Under Senate Bill 119, GA code section 12-6-90 was changed to eliminate the need to notify the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) by the person, firm, corporation, or association who intends to burn hand-piled natural vegetation/yard debris.

Any local burning ordinances are applicable and may be more restrictive than state law. In addition, restrictions on burning in 54 northern Georgia counties under the Environmental Protection Division summer burn ban from May 1-September 30 continue to be in effect.

Hand-piled natural vegetation/yard debris (No Permit Required)

Permits are No Longer Required for Hand-piled Natural Vegetation/Yard Debris. (Leaf and Limbs only)

It advises burners to carefully plan their burn by remembering to “Take Five,” and follow an easy to remember “S-S-T-A-R” formula:

S – Space – 25+ feet between fire and woodlands

S – Space – 50+ feet between fire and structures

T – Time – sunrise to sunset

A – Attendance – Person responsible on-site until the fire is extinguished

R – Reasonable precautions – Tools/measures in place to prevent escaped fire. Some examples are: tools/measures in place to prevent escaped fire. These include: continuous pressurized water source on site; man-made or natural barrier to contain fire, such as bare soil, rocks, bricks, burn barrel, etc.; hand tools or fire-containing equipment on site, such as rake, shovel, garden hoe, etc.; weather awareness – to NWS red flag warnings, High Fire Danger designation of Very High or Extreme days and other hazardous conditions, low relative humidity, high winds, etc.

Agriculture, silviculture, land-clearing burns and vegetative storm debris

DO require burners to contact us to provide notification and/or obtain a burn permit. Call 1-800-GA-TREES (428-7337).

Air Curtain Destructor (ACD), burning of debris generated by machine clearing or other forms of burning

To obtain a permit for the use of an Air Curtain Destructor (ACD) and other types of burning please call 1-800-GA-TREES (428-7337) for a permit.

Additional steps for burning of machine piled natural vegetation and area burning

Burning of debris generated by machine clearing of an area for the purpose of establishing a small garden spot or land clearing is considered a land type change. These are subject to the EPD land clearing burning rules and may require the use of an Air Curtain Destructor depending on the county in which you live.

If you are planning on land clearing with or without an ACD, burning off acreage, or understory burning, please click here to contact your local GFC county office.

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  • Permits are good only for the day they are issued. Unlawful Burn Notices may be issued and suppression charges may apply if GA code section 12-6-90 is not followed and wildfire results.

Please click on the links below for more resources:

Helpful Resources

Please refer to the documents and websites in the following table for daily fire weather information, as well as laws and important tips for proper outdoor burning.

TitleDescriptionDocument Type
Area Fire Weather Forecast

Daily forecasts with NFDRS Ratings and State-wide Fire Danger Ratings

Page on GFC Website
Current Fire Danger Rating

Daily updated information on current fire dangers across the state

Page on GFC Website
Debris Burning Safe Practices – English

Best practices to prevent injury and damage when burning

Debris Burning Safe Practices – Español

Mejores prácticas para evitar lesiones y daños al quemar

EPA Office of Air and Radiation

Information for the Office of Air and Radiation (OAR), which oversees policies and protections for air quality and radiation exposure

External Website
Federal Clean Air Act

Overview of the Clean Air Act and corresponding protections and actions by the EPA

External Website
Fire Danger Rating

Graphic data from statewide fire danger weather stations

Page on GFC Website
Forecast Fire Danger Rating

Daily updates for 24-hour fire danger forecast

Page on GFC Website
GA Outdoor Burn Notification System Changes Fact Sheet

Changes are being made to Georgia’s outdoor burn notification system. The law no longer requires a burner to inform the GFC online or by phone about their intention to burn leaf piles and yard debris. New legal safety requirements are now specified for this type of debris burning.

GA Outdoor Burn Notification System FAQs (Spanish Version)

GA código sección 12-6-90 elimina la necesidad de notificar a la comisión forestal de Georgia cuando una persona, empresa, corporación o asociación tiene la intención de quemar vegetación apilada a mano/ escombros de patio. Sin embargo, se añadieron importantes precauciones de prevención de incendios para los quemadores.

GA Outdoor Burn Notification System Frequently Asked Questions

GA code section 12-6-90 eliminates the need to notify the Georgia Forestry Commission when a person, firm,corporation or association intends to burn hand-piled vegetation/yard debris. Important fire prevention precautions for burners, however, were added.

Georgia EPD

Contact information and resources for the state’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD)

External Website
Georgia EPD Open Burning Rules

Overview of permissible and impermissible open burning practices

External Website
Georgia Senate Bill 119 12-6-90

1 To amend Code Section 12-6-90 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to
2 permit required for burning woods, lands, marshes, or other flammable vegetation, and
3 exceptions, so as to except certain yard waste from permitting; to provide for related matters;
4 to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Hidden Hazards of Backyard Burning

Important information about the illegal practice of burning household waste

Hidden Hazards of Backyard Burning (Español)

Peligros ocultos de la quema del patio trasero. En Georgia, es ilegal quemar la basura que generamos en nuestros hogares.


On May 1, an outdoor burn ban will begin in 54 Georgia counties, primarily in the northern half of the state. Affected residents are asked to refrain from burning yard and land clearing debris, whose smoke can negatively impact the state’s air quality during the hot summer months by contributing to high ozone levels. These conditions have been linked to lung and heart disease in humans. Please see this .pdf for more details.

Safety First For Landowners Burning Debris

This video provides helpful tips for safely burning debris.

V Smoke

VSmoke-Web is a web-based implementation of VSmoke (Lavdas, 1996) and is designed to assist with planning prescribed burns in the Southern United States.

External Website