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Fire officials warn of outdoor burning dangers

Henry County Fire Department officials recorded one civilian injury in their response to 81 fire-related calls, during the first month of this year.

The injury occurred during a fire classified as a "brush, grass, or wild land fire," according to Henry County Fire Capt. Sabrina Puckett Tuesday.

"[The] Henry County Fire Department would like to encourage citizens to practice fire safety in their homes with their families, as well as follow the outdoor burning ordinance, to prevent disaster," urged Puckett in a prepared statement.

Puckett said she expects the state will implement an outdoor burning ban this spring. Last year, a burning ban was imposed from May 1, through Sept. 31, on several Georgia counties under the jurisdiction of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division's (EPD) Air Protection Branch.

Georgia Forestry Commission Staff Forester, Greg Strenkowski, said of the decision last year, "the number one cause of wildfire is escaped debris burning." He added, half of all the wildfires in Georgia every year, happen between January and April.

"Many of these wildfires could be prevented if everyone would follow the outdoor burning ordinance and never leave their fire unattended," added Henry County Fire Capt. Puckett.

The rate of fire-related incidents was 2.6 per day for the month of January, in Henry, and dealt mostly with outdoor fires, and burning structures.

The other fires, she added, included private dwellings, rubbish piles or dumpsters, vehicles, and an apartment unit.

Fire officials responded to five separate blazes over the weekend, closing out the month with calls to two residential dwellings, two land fires, and one vehicle blaze.

Puckett said individuals should be reminded of the dangers of fires, and employ fire safety steps when dealing with potential fire hazards, indoors and outdoors.

To learn more about the upcoming burning ban, contact the EPD's Metro Atlanta District Office at (404) 362-2671.