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Be aware of local outdoor burning regulations

LAWRENCEVILLE -- With spring just days away, many minds will turn to cleaning, inside and out.

It's the outdoor activities, specifically the burning of vegetation and debris, that concern authorities.

According to county ordinance (Gwinnett County Fire Ordinance, Article II, Section 46-54), burning is allowed from Oct. 1 to April 30, with the exception of certain "no burn" days.

According to a statement released by the fire department, the decision to allow or disallow burning is based on information from the National Weather Service and the Georgia Forestry Commission.

"If a Red Flag Warning is issued by the National Weather Service, it means that a combination of winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures are creating a rapid fire growth potential," the release states.

The danger, officials said, is when burns become out of control and threaten property and structures. Smoke can also be a problem, restricting motorists' vision and causing stretches of road to be closed down.

Gwinnett Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge said the department takes an education approach versus an enforcement one when responding to burn violations.

"Our belief is that people may not be aware of the rules for outdoor burning or the fact that a particular day is not a burn day," Rutledge said.

Nevertheless, officials can issue a notice of non-compliance or a citation for violations.

Rules

* Burning shall be conducted during daylight hours only, Monday through Saturday.

* Only natural fallen vegetation, such as limbs, leaves and twigs, may be burned. Burning trash is forbidden.

* Burning shall be in small piles, no bigger than 3 feet by 3 feet.

* The burn pile should be at least 50 feet from any structure.

* The pile shall be constantly supervised and a water source shall be in place that will reach the pile. A portable fire extinguisher is also recommended.

* The pile shall be completely extinguished before dusk.

Restrictions

* Burning is not allowed if winds exceed 15 mph.

* No burning on overcast, rainy or foggy days or within 24 hours after rain.

* Burning is not allowed if a representative from the fire department of Fire Marshal's Office deems the burn to be offensive to others or that it poses a health risk to people in the area.

For more information, visit www.gwinnettfiremarshal

.com or call the burn information line at 678-518-4979.