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State enacts burning ban for area counties.

An outdoor burning ban is now in effect for 54 counties in Georgia, including Clarke, Oconee, Barrow, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Walton and Banks countries.

The ban by the Georgia Forestry Commission went into effect Sunday and will run through September 30th. Residents are asked to refrain from burning yard and land clearing debris, Forestry officials say that smoke negatively impacts the state’s air quality during the hot summer months by contributing to high ozone levels. These conditions have been linked to lung and heart disease in humans.

The restrictions address the rising risk of wildfires during the summer months as outdoor activities increase, with Georgia’s Forestry commission director reminding Georgians that humans are the number one cause of wildfires.