Columbus Fire Marshal Ricky Shores issued a ban on outdoor burning about a week-and-a-half ago in response to conditions caused by the extended drought.
Tuesday’s rain and the rain expected Wednesday will not necessarily be enough for Shores to lift the ban.
“I have to talk to the Georgia Forestry (Commission) people and get their take on it,” Shores said Tuesday. “We’ll evaluate the ground moisture content and make a decision.
“Our intention is to lift the ban as soon as possible, but not just yet.”
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The ban prohibits any outdoor fires not contained in a chimney or outdoor masonry fireplace, Shores said. Cooking on grills is allowed, but users should prepared to extinguish any sparks, and charcoal should be thoroughly doused before it’s discarded.
“People can still burn if it’s enclosed, screened-in,” Shores said. “They just can’t have open pit fires.”
Shores said people can look at what is happening in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and other such areas to see how dangerous and damaging wildfires can be.
Tuesday’s storms brought an inch to two inches of rain, depending on where you are in the Chattahoochee Valley, according to Bob Jeswald, chief meteorologist at WRBL. And Wednesday’s expected storms could bring in a similar amount of rain.
Even with a few inches of rain, the area will remain about 10 inches behind normal annual rainfall for the year, Jeswald said.
“The drought is not over,” Jeswald said. “What we’re seeing now is just some relief. It will take months of us getting substantial rain every week to catch up.
Things should clear up here Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Jeswald said, before more storms move into the area Sunday and Monday.