“Conditions are very dry throughout most of the state," said Frank Sorrells, Chief of Protection for the Georgia Forestry Commission. "Adding Sandy’s high winds to our dry conditions creates a tremendous wildfire hazard. We recommend that outdoor burning be avoided until conditions improve.”
Sorrells said that GFC’s forest rangers are standing by to assist with any escaped fires, but they are looking to the public to do its part to prevent as many fires as possible.
“Our primary concern is safety, and the first step towards safe burning is getting a burn permit at www.gatrees.org,” Sorrells said. “If we are not issuing permits, rest assured that it is because outdoor burning is not safe at that particular time.”
Sorrells reminded citizens that state laws require individuals to obtain a burn permit before doing any outdoor burning. If conditions are deemed safe, permits can be obtained at the Georgia Forestry Commission’s website, www.gatrees.org, or by calling 1-877-OK2-BURN. Also, anyone starting a campfire or other warming fire should make sure that it is cool to the touch before leaving it unattended.
“Last year unwelcome records were set in Georgia, with almost half a million acres of forest land lost to fire," said Sorrells. "As we all keep our northern neighbors in the path of this historic storm in our thoughts, it's important to be vigilant about keeping ourselves safe as well."
For more information about outdoor burning, forest fire and services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit GaTrees.org.