As of Sunday, Forsyth County residents are no longer permitted to burn debris in their yards. This ban is part of an ongoing effort to improve local air quality and reduce the risk of accidental fires, Forsyth County News reports.
The ban, which started the first of May, is planned to last all summer, ending at the conclusion of September.
Not all fires are prohibited. The ban specifically targets the burning of leaves and trash as part of cleanup efforts, according to the Forsyth County Fire Department.
“It essentially bans all outdoor debris burning,” said Chief Jason Shivers. “The exceptions are for recreational fires, meaning a simple campfire or a barbeque grill, the common sense things that are not included.”
The primary aim of the burn ban is to stay up to date with state air quality regulations. Air pollution is known to increase during the summer in Georgia, according to the Forsyth Herald, and burning debris substantially adds to atmosphere pollution.
Currently, Cumming has excellent air quality, according to the online service Best Places, which ranks it as a 95 on a 0-100 scale. This means Cumming has air quality higher than the national average.
In addition to the environmental benefits it provides, the ban protects residents from fires that could spread out of control.
“Certainly, summer in Georgia is typically the drier season,” Chief Shivers said. “And if we have a drought or a dry spell during the summer, not having the outdoor burning is definitely a side benefit.”
According to the Georgia Department of Forestry, debris burning is the number one cause of wildfires across the state.
On April 19, Forsyth County News reported on an accidental house fire in southwest Forsyth County, which displaced two families living on Windstone Trail. No one was harmed in that fire.