Residents in Northwest Georgia won’t be allowed to burn leaves or brush after April.

The annual ban that begins May 1 is imposed because of smog concern and is lifted at the end of September, according to the state Environmental Protection Division. Affected counties include Bartow, Floyd, Chattooga, Polk, Dade, Walker and Catoosa.” Our top priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of Georgia citizens by reducing air pollution,” said Heather Abrams, Chief of EPD’s Air Protection Branch.

Cooperation from the community will help people most at risk during this time. Those at greatest risk are the very young, the elderly and those with respiratory or cardiovascular diseases.

Citizens and businesses are not allowed to burn yard and land-clearing debris during the burn ban. Some activities such as campfires and agricultural activities are exempt.

For more information about alternatives to burning such as composting and chipping, please call the Department of Community Affairs at 404-679-4940 or the Pollution Prevention Assistance Division toll-free at 800-685-2443.

Debris can also be hauled to a commercial processing/grinding/composting operation or to an inert or construction and demolition landfill.