The Georgia Forestry Commission is holding back on issuing fire permits. The commission lifted a statewide fire ban on the first of the month, but dry weather and extreme drought conditions throughout Middle Georgia created tighter restrictions when it comes to issuing permits for residents to burn leaves, branches, and other debris.
"People are in such a rush to get things burned. We want you to take your time. We're going to have to be stricter this year on the permits," says Jenny Brunner, Chief Ranger.
The Georgia Department of Forestry says the fire ban ended even though 75% of the state is still in an extreme drought.
"We need a lot of patience right now. The burn ban is ending, but we're still in a drought so we're going to have to be kind of stingy with our permits until it rains a little bit," says Allen Dozier, Chief of Forest Protection.
Only a few permits are going out.
According to Brunner, the commission is concerned about winds picking up small debris fires and creating larger ones.
"Most fires escape the very next day when nobody is there," says Brunner.
The commission also wants to warn the public of the consequences of burning without a permit.
"We will charge you the cost of the big truck, and the bulldozer, and the forest rangers that came out to put the fire out," says Dozier.
Dozier says even though there is a delay issuing the free permits, you can apply for one by calling 1-877-OK-2-BURN or by visiting GATrees.org.