A burn ban goes into effect Sunday as a precautionary measure to reduce ozone pollutants.
Hall County Fire Marshall Scott Cagle said his department will start enforcing the Georgia Environmental Protection Division's restriction today, issuing citations to anyone burning to remove brush or clear property. The ban will continue through Sept. 30.
Cagle said the restriction has been in place for about a decade, so serious violations are rare.
"For the most part people are accustomed to it. We get a lot of people calling the last week wanting to get permits because they know the deadline is coming," he said. "There are some instances where people burn and citations have to be issued but for the most part the public knows."
The ban, which covers 52 counties in the Atlanta region, including Hall, reduces the level of ozone produced when volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides react.
"The EPD started the ban a little over 10 year go," Cagle said. "It has nothing to do with water or lack of water or fire control. It is just strictly an air quality thing."
According to the EPD, open burning is a leading factor in high ozone levels.
Ozone, which is a summer pollutant, can cause permanent damage by inflaming the lungs, even at very low levels.
There are two kinds of burning permits, residential and land clearing, given outside of the burn ban months. The later requires an inspection while residential permits are given out through an automated phone system.
Burning citations can carry a $1,000 fine and up to 30 days in jail.
Those with questions about the ban can call Hall County Fire Services at 770-531-6838.