Fire engine truck and ambulance file photo

Gwinnett County has put a temporary burn ban in place because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The temporary ban will last until the county's annual burn ban begins in May.

Gwinnett officials are asking county residents to not burn anything outdoors — other than maybe a steak or a burger — this summer because of the outbreak of the coronavirus disease known as COVID-19.

A temporary burn ban went into effect Monday night and will remain in place until April 30 — which is also when the county's annual burn ban that lasts until Sept. 30 begins. In other words, a burn ban is essentially in place until Oct. 1.

Officials said the temporary burn ban is being enacted so the county's firefighters and EMS professionals can be available to help out when needed with Gwinnett's COVID-19 response.

“It is crucial at a time like this for Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services personnel to be available to provide uninterrupted emergency services to our residents,” Gwinnett Fire Chief Russell Knick said. “Responding to calls for service related to outdoor fires will divert the department’s personnel and resources from providing critical services during this public health crisis.”

Gwinnett residents can still grill food outdoors and engage in "safe use of campfires," but several activities are banned, by order of the county's fire marshal, until the fall.

Banned activities include: leaf burning; limb and natural vegetation burning; prescribed burning; acquired structure burns; weed abatement burning; disease and pest prevention burning; and the burning of vegetative debris from storms.

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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