Outdoor burning can be a valuable way for landowners to manage their properties. However, it’s essential to follow the regulations set by local authorities to ensure that the burning is done safely and does not cause harm to the environment or neighboring properties. In Bartow County, Georgia, the fire department has specific regulations that must be followed for outdoor burning.
Outdoor Burning Ban In Bartow County
Bartow County has an outdoor burning ban from May 1st through September 30th unless otherwise extended due to drought.
When Can I Burn In Bartow County?
Outdoor burning is permitted from October 1st through April 30th and permits are no longer required.
What Type of Burning is Allowed in Bartow County?
In Bartow County, as well as 47 other counties in Georgia, the only types of outdoor burning that are allowed between May 1 and September 30 is as follows:
- agricultural procedures for production or harvesting of crops (if the land tract is 5 acres or less) – (Carrying out recognized agricultural procedures necessary for production or harvesting of crops)
- burning vegetative material for agricultural operations (if land tract is greater than 5 acres) – (Allows open burning over any agricultural tract, lot, or parcel greater than five acres for purposes of any existing, expanded, or new agricultural operations as such term is defined by O.C.G.A. Section 1-3-3, provided that such burning is consistent with the requirements of the Federal Act and is limited to vegetative material )
- recreational purposes and cooking (For recreational purposes or cooking food for immediate human consumption)
- fire-fighting training
- open flame devices (Operation of devices using open flames such as tar kettles, blow torches, welding torches, portable heaters, and other flame-making equipment).
- disposal of packaging materials for explosives
In Georgia, it is unlawful, at any time, to burn man-made materials such as tires, shingles, plastics, lumber, or household garbage, even in a burn barrel.
Outdoor burning is permitted during daylight hours and when outdoor burning has not been banned by the Bartow County Fire & Emergency Services or by the GA Environmental Protection Agency. Natural vegetation, such as leaves, limbs, and/or branches, are the only items allowed to be burned without obtaining a burn permit. Please contact your local fire station to determine if conditions are favorable for open burning or not and if so, you will need to provide your name, location, and contact number for the responsible party doing the open burning.
Residential Open Burning:
When burning leaf piles, yard debris, or hand-piled natural vegetation on the premises at which they occur, you must provide the following:
(a) Burning takes place between the official sunrise and the official sunset for the location where the burning is taking place;
(b) Location of the burning is no less than 25 feet from any woodlands, forestland, and/or open field that contains brush, grass, or other flammable material;
(c) Location of the burning is no less than 50 feet from any structure, including outbuildings, sheds, barns, and homes;
(d) Person responsible shall attend the burning at all times until completely extinguished and there is no risk for the burning to escape control;
(e) Person responsible shall take necessary precautions to prevent escape or spread from the original location; and
(f) Person responsible shall be liable for any resulting damage to adjacent properties
For full details on safe burning procedures, see the Georgia Forestry website on Safe Burning Procedures.
Georgia EPD Burn Ban Restrictions are from May 1st through September 30th of every year unless drought restrictions extend the Burn Ban.
Properties inside the city limits of Adairsville, Emerson, Kingston, Euharlee, Taylorsville, and White:
You must call your local Fire Station to receive permission before burning.
City Fire Station Phone Number
Adairsville Fire Station 10 (770)-877-9021
Emerson Fire Station 6 (770)-387-5177
Kingston Fire Station 7 (770)-336-5000
Euharlee Fire Station 3 (770)-387-5155
Taylorsville Fire Station 11 (770)-684-8060
White Fire Station 5 (770)-387-5164
For the citizens of the City of Cartersville call: (770)-387-5636
Code Section 12-6-90 of the Official Code of Georgia Annoted, relating to permit required for burning woods, lands, marshes, or other flammable vegetation, and exceptions, is amended as follows:
“(c)(1) It shall not be necessary to obtain a permit otherwise required by subsection (a) of this Code section to burn improved pastures,-or residue on cultivated crop land, if the person, firm, corporation, or association intending to burn such residue shall, prior to such burning, give notice of the approximate time and location thereof to the forest ranger of the county wherein such burning is to be made or to an employee of the forestry unit serving such county who is authorized to grant permits under subsection (a) of this Code section.
Commercial Pit Burns
Please contact the fire marshal’s office for permitting instructions and submittal requirements. 770-387-5151 option #2.
Frequently Asked Questions
NO! The new law mandates the person burning take full responsibility for keeping their fire contained and is
required to ensure FIVE SAFETY STANDARDS are followed.
Before you burn, “Take Five,” and remember the acronym, “S-S-T-A-R.” Each of the star’s five points represents a burning safety standard:
Space – Burn location must be no less than 25 feet from any woodlands, forestland or field that contains brush, grass or other flammable material.
Space – Burn location must be no less than 50 feet from structures, which includes homes, outbuildings, sheds and barns.
Time – Burning must take place between sunrise and sunset.
Attendance – Person responsible must attend burning at all times until fire is completely extinguished and there is no risk for burning to escape control.
Reasonable Precautions – Person responsible must take reasonable and necessary precautions to prevent fire escape or spread from the original location.
Some examples include:
- Continuous pressurized water source on site, such as water hose. Buckets of water or hand-held sprayers do not meet legal requirements.
- Man-made or natural barrier to contain your fire such as bare soil, rocks, bricks or burn barrel.
- Hand tools or fire-containing equipment on site, such as rake, shovel, garden hoe, etc.
- Weather awareness to NWS red flag warnings, High Fire Danger designation of Class 4 or Class 5 days and other
hazardous conditions, such as prolonged drought, low relative humidity or high winds, etc.
Those are different and a permit IS required. Contact your local GFC county ranger. This includes permits for pine straw producers.
Escaped leaf pile and yard debris burning is the leading cause of wildfires in Georgia. In an effort to reduce the number of unwanted fires and to protect Georgia’s valuable forest resources, homes and structures, establishing best practice requirements when burning yard debris is a responsible way for homeowners and citizens to continue to burn.
Only hand-piled leaves or naturally occurring yard debris. No household garbage or man-made refuse, and debris may not be transported from one location to another for burning.
Local weather is the primary consideration necessary for safe outdoor burning. Gather data on local wind speeds, relative humidity and the number of days without significant rainfall. Breezy, high, or gusty winds accompanied with low relative humidity and extended days without rain are recipes for wildfires. When winds are light, generally 10 mph or less, when relative humidity is above 35%, and when frequent rainfall has occurred at the location of the burning, the person responsible may make a decision to burn leaf piles and yard debris.
Local current and forecasted weather information is readily available through local media sources and regional and statewide weather forecasting agencies. Many local news and weather apps for mobile phones and computer are available. The Weather Channel provides smart phone apps that may prove to be helpful. In addition, the Georgia Forestry Commission provides comprehensive fire weather and fire danger information, which is readily available at: GaTrees.org.
Rangers at the local county unit who respond to wildfires determine whether an Unlawful Burn Notice must be issued. UBNs may be issued if wildfire results from a yard debris burn AND it is clear that the five required safety precautions have not been followed. UBNs are issued whenever illegal materials are being burned, including household garbage, man-made materials, personal papers, corrugated boxes and pallets.
Safety is our primary concern and we will always respond to reports of wildfire. For smoke complaints we will ask if the fire has escaped or could cause imminent threat. It is illegal to burn after sunset. Local GFC rangers will determine what action to take on an individual basis.
It is illegal to light a debris pile if there is less than 50 feet between your fire and a structure or 25 feet between your fire and woodlands.
The law goes into effect on July 1, 2021. A communication campaign is underway to help Georgians understand requirements of the new law and their responsibilities when burning. Visit GaTrees.org for complete details, including a how-to video, a copy of the legislation, and information about burning safety.
About Southern Gentleman Land Management
Southern Gentleman Land Management is a leading provider of land management services, including land clearing, grading, excavation, and more. With a commitment to quality, safety, and customer satisfaction, Southern Gentleman Land Management has earned a reputation as the premier choice for property owners in Bartow County, GA, and the surrounding areas.