The extended weather forecast for the winter months is showing more warm, dry weather for the Southeast, which points to an ever-deepening drought and an increased fire danger for north Georgia and metro Atlanta.

11Alive StormTrackers Meteorologist Samantha Mohr says the drought has deepened across north Georgia, with the worst conditions in a swath across the western portion of the state, from Dade, Walker and Catoosa in the north to Haralson and northern Carroll counties in the south. According to Mohr, that area is shown as being in the Exceptional Drought category.

Mohr says there are two areas of Severe Drought across parts of north Georgia: one includes north and central Fulton, most of DeKalb, most of Forsyth and far western Gwinnett counties; the second stretches from Barrow and Walton counties eastward toward the South Carolina state line.

The remainder of north Georgia is in an Extreme Drought, including the remainder of metro Atlanta.

In general, open burning is prohibited from May 1 through Sept. 30 each year. From Oct. 1 through April 30, burns may be allowed but permits are required by law. However, due to the dry conditions, additional restrictions are likely.

Officials with the Georgia Forestry Commission have restricted outdoor burning in most of north Georgia as a result, burn permits are not being issued for individuals wishing to burn leaves or other debris in most areas.

More details are available from the Georgia Forestry Commission website. Check with your local ranger before starting any fire.

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