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Drought and fires prompt Georgia burn restrictions

The Georgia Forestry Commission is asking all Georgia residents to postpone outdoor burning until the current severe wildfire situation has diminished. Requests for burn permits will generally be denied immediately due to drought conditions and the continued risk of wildfire.

"The recent fires in south Georgia have stretched out suppression resources," said Alan Dozier, Chief of Forest Protection. "GFC teams have been dispatched from all over the state to fight these unprecedented fires. So that no area of Georgia is left unprotected, every effort must be made to reduce the threat of uncontrolled fire. Georgia's fire risk is at a 50-year high. It is simply not prudent to continue to authorize use of fire when we are in this situation."

Outdoor burning is an important debris disposal tool for many Georgians, and Alan Dozier said restricting permits may cause temporary inconvenience, but he expects people to understand the risk and comply with the GFC's request. While a total burn ban is not being instituted, the GFC will restrict burning permits on a case by case basis. This allows flexibility in locations that receive rain showers and allows fire use for various work related activities.

The Georgia Forestry Commission's toll free 1-877-OK2 BURN line and its computer on-line system for obtaining permits have been temporarily disabled. Residents who have annual permits are asked to refrain from burning until further notice.

Web posted on Thursday, May 03, 2007

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