Burn Ban issued for Union County
Front row Left - Right: Charles Worden, Fire Chief, Union County, Mitch Floyd, Fire Chief, Towns County,
Jim Conley, Blairsville City Mayor; Back Row Left - Right: Lamar Paris, Union County Commissioner,
Bill Kendall, Towns County Commissioner, Harold Copeland, Assistant Fire Chief, Towns County, Tony Harkins,
Chief Ranger, Georgia Forestry Commission, Larry Garrett, Union County Facilities Director, Alan Polk,
District Ranger, Chattahoochee National Forestry Commission

May 25, 2007 - Burning Ban issued in Blairsville and surrounding areas
due to dry conditions and possible water shortage

A total burn ban has been issued in Union County by Commissioner Lamar Paris effective 11:00 a.m. on May 25, 2007 . An emergency meeting was held at Union County Courthouse on Friday morning discuss extremely dry conditions in Union and Towns Counties . With no rainfall in sight, the situation is considered critical. Commissioner Lamar Paris met with Alan Polk, District Ranger, Chattahoochee National Forestry Commission, Bill Kendall, Towns County Commissioner, Tony Harkins, Chief Ranger, Georgia Forestry Commission, Charles Worden, Fire Chief, Union County, Mitch Floyd, Fire Chief, Towns County, Jim Conley, Blairsville City Mayor, Harold Copeland, Assistant Fire Chief, Towns County, and Larry Garrett, Union County Facilities Director, to discuss issues related to a burning ban.

According to the official press release, "Commissioner Paris and Towns County Commissioner Kendall, in conjunction with the Union and Towns County Fire Department, Georgia Forestry, United States Forest Service, Mayors of Blairsville, Young Harris, and Hiawassee jointly issued a resolution banning all outside burning. This includes a total ban on outdoor fires of any kind other than a self contained gas grill. Not only is the county and state experiencing a record drought, but US Forestry and Georgia Forestry are involved in other areas fighting fires and all man power is stretched thin.

In addition, public water supplies for the City of Blairsville are extremely low and a large fire would severely impact their ability to continue to supply drinking water to their area. Water conservation is also critical at this time. The City of Blairsville and Notla Water have issued watering bans in excess of state guidelines and now allow outside watering only one day a week.

This outside burning ban means you can not burn garbage in an outside can; you can not burn leaves or brush of any kind. A self contained propane cook stove or grill is the only approved outside fire source. Camp fires are prohibited except in designated camping areas with the approved fire rings. Fireworks or sparklers are prohibited. This ban will be in effect until we have substantial rainfall. This is not considered a restrictive ban, but a protective ban to protect you the public who either live or visit in Union County . We are in a critical situation and please report anyone that you see with an outside fire.

The fines for starting a forest fire are significant. For those that smoke, please be extremely careful and do not throw out any cigarette butts. A fire in these dry weather conditions could be catastrophic. Thanks you for your cooperation."

Our forests are one of our most valuable resources. Park rangers and campground personnel will be posting notices and personally informing as many campers as possible. All local citizens, visitors, campers on private land, homeowners, and renters are required to follow the same regulations and guidelines against outdoor burning. Please help get the word out and report any fires or smoke as soon as possible - the situation is serious and requires everyone's cooperation.