Open burning in Cobb is allowed from Oct. 1 through April 1 of each year, Cobb Fire spokeswoman Denell Boyd said. During this time, residents can burn limited yard debris such as leaves, pine straw and small tree limbs.
An adult must be in attendance during all burning, watching the fire at all times. In addition, they must have a water hose ready to use if needed and fires must be kept at least 50 feet from all structures, including fences made of combustible materials like wood.
Boyd said the rule on keeping a water hose is one rule that residents caught burning illegally often say they don’t know about. Others fail to follow laws on monitoring the fires, she said.
“People will be burning something, go inside and have lunch, and come out and the whole backyard is on fire,” she said.
Burning must also take place at least 25 feet from any road with a speed limit higher than 35 mph.
In addition, limbs must be no more than 6 inches in diameter, with piles no larger than 6 feet by 6 feet, and fires must be put out at least an hour before sunset.
Burning is prohibited on days when the wind exceeds 10 miles per hour or when cloudy, rainy or overcast conditions are likely to keep smoke low to the ground.
Violators are issued a warning for their first burning offense. Penalties increase to $100 on the second violation and increase each subsequent violation until the fifth offense, when violators face a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
Cooler conditions make outdoor burning more acceptable, Boyd said.
“In the summer, when it’s hot, everything is dry and it will burn faster,” she said. “It’s difficult on the firefighters.”
The city of Marietta has similar rules for burning as Cobb County, though its outdoor burning season started earlier in the week.
Boyd said that fires also have to be extinguished if another resident complains.
“If it’s a nuisance to somebody else, you have to put it out,” she said.