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Burn restrictions imposed in Gwinnett

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett is one of 54 Georgia counties that will observe the annual outdoor burn ban that began Friday and runs through Sept. 30.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division imposes the burning ban in compliance with federal clean air regulations. Georgia Forestry Commission officials said the ozone can reach unhealthy levels during summer months, and that the EPD has identified open burning as a significant contributor of pollutants that form ozone.

Restricting open burning in metro Atlanta and larger counties, they said, can help reduce those pollutants.

The Gwinnett County Fire Marshal's Office would enforce restrictions if need be, but Gwinnett Fire spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge said most violations are not intentional.

"Annually the Department takes an educational approach," Rutledge said. "We have found, for the most part, people will burn simply because they were not aware of the ban or the rules associated with outdoor burning."

Banned burning include:

· Trees, limbs or other yard waste;

· Burning over of forest or land by the landowners; and

· Burning of vegetative waste from land clearing (including the use of air curtain destructors).

The following outdoor/open burning are allowed with the proper permits:

· Fires for agricultural practices (must be zoned RA-200/residential agricultural) or a forestry prescribed burn;

· Recreational fires such as campfires (in a designated camping area) or for cooking food such as barbecues; and

· Fires for training firefighting personnel.

For more information on open burning, call the Fire Marshal's Office at 678-518-6100 or visit www.gwinnettfiremarshal.com.