The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has imposed an Open Burning Ban for 54 Georgia counties, including Newton County, that will begin May 1 and last through Sept. 30.
This ban restricts citizens and businesses from burning yard and land-clearing debris, and has been in place since 2005.
The purpose of the ban is to reduce pollution for the benefit of public health.
The smoke from burning yard waste can contain chemicals and pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particle pollution.
Such pollution in the air has been known to lead to heart disease and lung cancer, and increase risk for heart attack and stroke.
The ban is in place during the warmer months because this is the time when people are most likely to be outdoors and subject to inhale harmful substances in the air.
Also, ground-level ozone as well as particle pollution values in the air are typically higher in the summer.
This temporary ban exists along with another year-round ban on burning household garbage that is in effect throughout all of Georgia.
There are some exceptions to the burn ban, which include campfires and agricultural activities.
The burning of garbage or lumber, even in a barrel, is illegal.
Certain counties have additional restrictions due to air quality concerns. These counties have more than 65,000 residents.
Those over the population limit may not burn vegetative debris from storm damage or for the purpose of weed abatement, disease and pest prevention.
In addition, burning for the purpose of land clearing must use an air curtain destructor subject to the requirements of the rule.
An operating permit for an ACD from EPD and a burn permit from GFC are not necessary. However, GFC must be notified of intent to burn using an ACD for public safety reasons.
More information and a list of exempt activities, visit georgiaair.org and click on the open burning rules graphic.