Fire Fines in Thomas County

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Those who choose to burn illegally in the state of Georgia now have a new consequence.

You wouldn't be able to tell if a fire was burning legally or illegally, but the Forestry Department would. They issue burning permits, which in the state of Georgia is a necessity if you're going to be starting fires.

The permits are free, but some people still burn illegally, and now they'll have to pay for it.

Trent Ingram, Chief Ranger of Thomas County Forestry, says, "When those unpermitted burns get out and we come to it and put the fire out then we're gonna’ start sending an invoice for the charges of suppressing the fire."

Rangers say they lose three quarters of a million dollars a year suppressing wildfires, and 70 percent of those are started by illegal burns, but rangers hope suppression fees will change that statistic

Ken O'Neal of Kauka Farms says, "I think it's a good thing. It serves to discourage some of the illegal burning, or burning with out a permit. It's a good idea to have a permit because they know exactly where you are, and if you need help they can get there quick."

If a fire like got out of hand, they don't charge anything if it is being burned with a permit.

"We don't mind helping people with a permit and a fire gets out, that's what we're here for."

They’re here to make sure Georgia's fires stay under control.

The entire state of Georgia will charge illegal burning suppression fees. The state of Florida has similar actions towards burners.