Temporary Ban on All Outdoor Burning

In response to recent dry weather and drought conditions, the Social Circle Fire Department has instituted a temporary ban inside the city limits on outdoor burning. Beginning October 2, leaves, pine straw, and other yard debris may not be burned until the ban is lifted. The ban is expected to be lifted once significant rainfall is received. Notification will be sent out when burning may resume. The GA Forestry Commission has temporarily stopped issuing burn permits in Walton County until further notice. This ban includes ALL burning, including burning exempted from burn permits such as bonfires.

High Fire Danger Impacts Outdoor Burning

Though burning leaf piles and campfires are hallmarks of fall, Georgia's current drought is impacting decisions to burn outdoors. The Georgia Forestry Commission is urging everyone to follow established procedures and exercise extreme caution when using fire outside.

"There's a five step fire danger system used nationally, and right now Georgia is in the four and five categories, indicating very high fire danger," said Georgia Forestry Commission Chief of Protection Frank Sorrells. "The decision to burn must be made on specific weather criteria in each location, and because safety is always our top concern, burn permitting may be restricted based on the fire danger forecast."

Burn permits issued by the Georgia Forestry Commission are required for any outdoor burning in the state to help prevent wildfires and problems generated by smoke. In 54 counties, primarily in north Georgia, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division sets annual summer burning restrictions to reduce emissions from ground level ozone that may jeopardize air quality. Those restrictions are set to be lifted on Tuesday, October 1.

"The GFC will resume issuing burn permits on a day to day basis, following our established fire danger and smoke management procedures, in those counties which have been under the EPD Burn Ban since May first," said Sorrells. “We recognize the importance of and promote prescribed burning for the many wildfire prevention, forest management and agriculture benefits it provides. However, right now we're asking everyone to be extremely vigilant when doing any open burning, including burning yard debris.”

Wildfire activity is on the rise statewide, according to Sorrells. Over the past three months, Georgia Forestry Commission wildland firefighters have responded to 41 percent more fires than its previous five-year average. Sorrells said escaped debris burns are the number one cause of wildfires in our state, and it may be necessary and wise to delay or postpone open burning if local conditions are unfavorable. The GFC recommends those who burn keep tools on hand such as water, a shovel and a cell phone.

"Never hesitate to call 911, and never leave your fire unattended” Sorrells said.

The 54 counties whose EPD summer burn bans are being lifted are: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, Coweta, Crawford, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Richmond, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Twiggs, Upson, Walker and Walton.

For specific information about conducting open burning, permitting requirements and current fire conditions in your area, contact your county's GFC office or visit GaTrees.org.

Fire Hydrant Testing Next Week

As a part of the final steps of the water system upgrades along Cherokee Road and Hightower Trail, the Fire Department will be testing the new fire hydrants that were installed. They will test the first part of the week, June 10-12. This may cause cloudy water in the area. If you do have cloudy water, allow the water to run for a while and it will clear up.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Barry Parsons, Public Works Director, bparsons@socialcirclega.com, 770-464-6912.

Annual Northern Georgia Burn Ban Begins May 1

Get a permit before you burn. It's fast and free and it's the law.Georgia’s annual ban on outdoor burning begins May 1 in 54 counties, mostly in the northern half of the state. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) puts the restrictions in place during the summer months, when increases in ground level ozone may create health risks.

“From May 1 until September 30, open burning of yard and land-clearing debris is prohibited in some counties where particulate matter pollutants and chemicals from smoke are more likely to combine with emissions from vehicles and industrial activities,” said Frank Sorrells, Chief of Protection for the Georgia Forestry Commission. “Our agencies closely monitor air quality, weather conditions and open burning for the safety of all Georgians.”

The 54 counties affected by the ban are: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, Coweta, Crawford, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Richmond, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Twiggs, Upson, Walker and Walton.

May through September is the time of year when people are more likely to be outdoors. Higher levels of ground-level ozone and particle pollution levels are recognized to contribute to human health concerns and issues.

Residents in Georgia counties not included in the annual burn ban, or wishing to conduct open burning that is exempt from the burn ban in some counties, will continue to be required to get a burn permit from the Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) before burning outdoors. Permits can be secured online at GaTrees.org, by calling 1-877-OK2-BURN or contacting their county GFC office.

For more information about the summer burn ban and services of the Georgia Forestry Commission, visit GaTrees.org and https://epd.georgia.gov/air/summer-open-burning-ban.

Make Christmas Brighter This Year for Social Circle Kids

City of Social Circle Fire Department Secret SantaThe City of Social Circle Fire Department is gearing up to for their annual Secret Santa program and they need your help!

You can help by donating cash (checks payable to Social Circle Secret Santa), donating new toys or volunteering to help stuff Santa’s sacks to prepare for delivery. Monetary donations can be dropped off at the Fire Department or at Pinnacle Bank. Donations of new toys may be dropped off at any time all year long at the Social Circle Fire Department.

EPD’s Summer Burn Ban Lifted

Outdoor burning will again be permitted beginning October 1 in 54 Georgia counties where restrictions have been in place since May. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division issues the burn ban annually to help reduce emissions from ground level ozone that may jeopardize air quality, mostly in north Georgia.

Burn permits issued by the Georgia Forestry Commission are required for any outdoor burning in the state to help prevent wildfires and problems generated by smoke. They may be
obtained at GaTrees.org or by calling 1-877-O-K-2-BURN.

“The GFC will resume issuing burn permits on a day to day basis in counties that have been under the EPD ban all summer,” said Frank Sorrells, Chief of Protection for the Georgia Forestry Commission. “We’ll be following our normal fire danger and smoke management procedures.”

Sorrells said many areas of the state are currently experiencing dry conditions, causing grasses and vegetation to burn readily. Rainfall in the next few weeks will be critical to reduce the threats of wildfire as we move into the fall and winter months, he said. The Georgia Forestry Commission also promotes prescribed burning for the many wildfire prevention and forest management benefits it provides.

“Safety is our top concern,” said Sorrells, “and we’re asking everyone to be extra cautious when doing open burning of any kind.” According to Sorrells, escaped debris burns are the number one cause of wildfires in our state, and it may be necessary and wise to delay or postpone open burning if local conditions are unfavorable. The GFC advises burners to always keep tools on hand, such as water, a shovel and a cell phone. Never hesitate to call 911, and never leave your fire unattended.

For more information, contact:
Wendy Burnett
478.365.6233
wburnett@gfc.state.ga.us

The 54 counties whose EPD summer burn bans have been lifted are: Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Bibb, Butts, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Columbia, Coweta, Crawford, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Fulton, Gordon, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jones, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pike, Polk, Putnam, Richmond, Rockdale, Spalding, Troup, Twiggs, Upson, Walker and Walton.

For specific information about conducting open burning, permitting requirements and current fire conditions in your area, contact your county’s GFC office or visit GaTrees.org.

Fire Chief Zaydel Recognized by City Council

The Social Circle City Council recognized Fire Chief Ken Zaydel for his election as Secretary/Treasurer of the statewide Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs (GFAC). The election took place last Saturday at the 2018 Georgia Fire Service Conference held in Dalton, Georgia. Chief Zaydel had served as one of the nine District Vice Presidents before running for the executive committee.

“We are pleased to have Chief Zaydel taking on this leadership position, on the GAFC Executive Board,” said GAFC Newly Elected President, Chief Wasdin, Hazlehurst – Jeff Davis County Fire Department. “Zaydel is respected by his colleagues, and I’m sure he’ll provide great leadership to the membership.”

Chief Zaydel has served as the Fire Chief for the City of Social Circle since November of 2012.

Dating back to 1952 and based in GMA’s Atlanta office, GAFC works to advance fire services in Georgia and represents more than 800 chief fire officers statewide.

Sign Up for Walton County Citizen Alert Notifications

Walton County has launched a mass notification service that will alert you to potential safety hazards or concerns, such as severe weather, tornadoes, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods. You can choose which alerts you want to receive and whether to receive alerts via calls to your home, mobile or business phones, or messages by email address or text messages. There is no charge for this service and you can opt out at any time. To sign up, go to http://www.waltoncountyga.gov, scroll down and click on the EVERBRIDGE logo in the Quick links box.

Kidde Recalls Fire Extinguishers with Plastic Handles

This recall involves two styles of Kidde fire extinguishers: plastic handle fire extinguishers and push-button Pindicator fire extinguishers. The fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard.

Consumers should immediately contact Kidde to request a free replacement fire extinguisher and for instructions on returning the recalled unit, as it may not work properly in a fire emergency. The fire extinguishers involved were sold by Menards, Montgomery Ward, Sears, The Home Depot, Walmart and other department, home and hardware stores nationwide, and online at Amazon.com, ShopKidde.com and other online retailers for between $12 and $50 and for about $200 for model XL 5MR. These fire extinguishers were also sold with commercial trucks, recreational vehicles, personal watercraft and boats.

For more information and how to identify the models involved in the recall, please visit https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2017/kidde-recalls-fire-extinguishers-with-plastic-handles-due-to-failure-to-discharge-and