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
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 their county forest ranger to provide notification and/or obtain a burn permit. Click here to contact your local county office.
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 contact your local GFC office to obtain a permit, please click here to contact your local GFC county office.
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.
Click here for EPD open burning rules
Click here for EPD ACD guidelines
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.
- 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:
- Georgia Senate Bill 119 Code Section 12-6-90
- “Take Five: How to Comply with Georgia’s New Outdoor Burning Laws
- “Take Five”: Overview
- Georgia’s Outdoor Burn Notification System Fact Sheet
- Frequently Asked Questions – English Version
- Preguntas Frecuentes – Español Versión
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.
|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
|Federal Clean Air Act|
Overview of the Clean Air Act and corresponding protections and actions by the EPA
|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.
Contact information and resources for the state’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD)
|Georgia EPD Open Burning Rules|
Overview of permissible and impermissible open burning practices
|Georgia Senate Bill 119 12-6-90|
1 To amend Code Section 12-6-90 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to
|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.
|Safety First For Landowners Burning Debris|
This video provides helpful tips for safely burning debris.
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.