ATLANTA (AP) — An outdoor burning ban is now in effect in 54 counties in Georgia through Sept. 30, authorities said.

The annual summer burn ban prohibits residents from burning any yard or land clearing debris, The Augusta Chronicle reported. Some exceptions include agricultural burning exemptions, forestry prescribed burning exemptions, campfires or barbeques, firefighting training, operation of open flame equipment and explosives disposal.

Violators of the burn ban could face fines.

Georgia Forestry Commission Ranger Carolyn Head told the newspaper they’ve already seen some fires getting out of control in the Augusta area. In the past week, a car caught on fire and someone’s yard and garden were burned after a fire burned wild. In another case, a fire caused by someone burning yard waste ultimately burned two houses, got into the woods and nearly burned a third house.

“It’s endangering lives, it’s endangering people all around them and people aren’t thinking about that when they are burning,” she said.

The open burning ban has been in place during the summer ozone season since 2005.

The ban covers: Carroll, Clayton, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Heard, Henry, Rockdale, and Spalding counties, in the Mountain District-Atlanta; Banks, Barrow, Butts, Clarke, Hall, Jackson, Jasper, Madison, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Putnam, and Walton counties in the Northeast District; Columbia and Richmond counties in the East Central District; Bibb, Crawford, Houston, Jones, Lamar, Monroe, Peach, Pike, Twiggs, Upson, Meriwether, and Troup counties in the West Central District; and Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Dawson, Floyd, Forsyth, Gordon, Haralson, Lumpkin, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, and Walker counties in the Mountain District-Cartersville.

Anyone who sees someone illegally burning during the ban should contact the forestry commission at 706-556-3962.

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