Gooch was out of town when the F1 tornado left many downed trees along a 4.1 mile stretch in south Lumpkin and north Hall counties last month.
“When I got back I drove through the area and got out and spoke with some volunteers and home owners. I wanted to let them know we were here for them if they needed help,” he said.
Two residents on Bridgestone Way told him they were concerned about the burn ban going into effect May 1. The ban prohibits open burning through September due to air quality.
“They said they had made arrangements for loggers to come and cut up and remove the trunks, but didn’t know what they were going to do with the tops and limbs,” Gooch said. “This will save them some money by being able to burn it on site.”
Gooch called Georgia Environmental Protection Division Director Jason Turner to request the ban be lifted for the storm victims, and he agreed. Turner cited the limited access to chipping equipment and debris disposal sites in the area.
“He’s been a great guy to work with. He’s willing to help where he can and has a common sense approach to government,” Gooch said.
The lifting of the ban applies only to vegetative matter, not construction debris, and is good only through the end of May. Residents must still get a permit to burn, Gooch said.
“Just tell Georgia Forestry you’re in the tornado area when you call,” he said.