Burning ban begins today

LAWRENCEVILLE - Those who like to burn grass clippings and tree limbs will have to hold off for a while.

Gwinnett County firefighters announced Monday they have begun enforcing a burn ban.

Starting today those in the county will not be allowed to do any sort of outdoor burning, including burning trees, limbs, or any yard waste or vegetative waste from land clearing. Firefighters said the ban will continue until Sept. 30.

Gwinnett County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Thomas Rutledge suggests those looking to dispose of yard waste should make other arrangements.

"People who still have yard debris to dispose of are encouraged to have them hauled away instead of burning them," Rutledge said.

Fires for agricultural purposes with properties zoned RA-200 residential agricultural or a forestry prescribed burn will be allowed during the four-month period. Fires for cooking food, including barbecues and campfires (in a designated campground) are also acceptable, as well as fires for Fire Department training purposes.

Rutledge said no permit is needed to barbecue in the backyard but those wanting to conduct a bonfire would need a permit.

The ban is imposed annually during the summer months and is not related to the wildfires in south Georgia, Rutledge said.

"No outdoor burning is allowed for the entire time period designated," Rutledge said. Anyone caught burning during the time will be referred the Gwinnett County Fire Marshal's Office.

"Firefighters and fire inspectors will first take an educational approach to enforcing the burn ban," Rutledge said. "The ban is often violated due to a lack understanding on the part of the offender. Repeat violators will be referred to the Gwinnett Fire Marshal's Office. Our goal is to get the word out about the ban."

Additional information concerning bans on outdoor burning is available by calling the Gwinnett County Fire Marshal's Office at 678-518-6100 or by visiting the office's Web site at www.gwinnettfiremarshal.com.