Out-of-control yard debris fire mobilizes forestry staff
By MICHAEL HALL The Brunswick News
The cost of burning yard debris that spread to a field and into the woods Monday could have been much higher for a Glynn County family, if the Georgia Forestry Commission had been forced to use its tractors to cut fire breaks.
The fire started shortly after 11 a.m. behind a home on Glyndale Circle in northern Glynn County when coals from a yard debris fire ignited grass and quickly spread to the nearby tree line.
Glynn County firefighters responded to the scene and were able to suppress the flames before any structures were damaged.
If the Georgia Forestry Commission, called to the scene by the Glynn County Fire Department, had been required to use the tractor to help contain the fire, the owners of the property may have had to pay more than $100 an hour for services, according to Bill Harvey, Glynn County forester for the commission.
Incurring monetary charges to cover the commission's costs depend on whether or not a burn permit was issued, Harvey said.
Residents in unincorporated areas of Glynn County are required to call the Georgia Forestry Commission to obtain a permit to burn yard debris.
No fires are allowed in the city.
"If they are permitted, then there are usually no charges," Harvey said.
Without a permit, property owners could be on the hook for the money it costs to operate tractors, which is around $110 an hour, according to Harvey. They also have pay for the time put in by commission firefighters.
Operating the tractors and sending men to a fire is not cheap, Harvey said.
"It all depends on the specific situation as to what the charges might be," he said.
That is why Harvey said it is always important to acquire a burn permit and to let the commission know when planning to burn yard debris -- especially during the period of extreme drought Glynn County is currently experiencing.
To obtain a permit, call 877-652-2876.
* Reporter Michael Hall writes about public safety, environment and other local topics. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 320.