Forestry Commission

The Georgia Forestry Commission is responsible for providing leadership, service and education in the protection and conservation of Georgia’s forest resources. District and county offices are located throughout the state. Stephens County is served by the office located in Habersham-Rabun-White County.

Commission professionals provide a wide variety of services including fire detection, issuing burn permits, wildfire suppression and prevention services, emergency and incident command system expertise, rural fire department assistance, forest management assistance to landowners and communities, the marketing and utilization of forest resources and nature services, and growing and selling quality tree seedlings for planting.

Tree Harvesting

Any person who cuts or otherwise harvests timber growing in the county shall give written notification for each separate tract to the county government prior to the start-up of such harvesting activities if possible, but in no event later than 24 hours after entering the property of such harvesting activities. Further, such persons shall give notice of cessation of cutting within 24 hours after the job is completed.

Individuals are encouraged to use the Georgia Forestry Commission Notice of Timber Harvesting Activity form available here. When you have completed the form, submit it to: Courtney Pickens, 802 E. Doyle Street, Toccoa, GA or

The Georgia Forestry Commission has introduced an electronic and simple way to submit timber harvesting notifications on a new website, Your request will come right to your local government office for processing.

Burn Permits

A permit is required for burning all Natural Vegetation that is hand piled, including leaf piles on the premises that they fall, existing small clearings to plant vegetable and flower gardens, and vegetative debris disposal from storm damage, weed abatement, disease and/or pest prevention. A hand piled permit does not include the burning of debris generated by machine clearing of an area for the purpose of establishing a garden spot or land clearing. This type of activity is considered a land type change and is subject to the EPD land clearing burning rules and may require the use of an Air Curtain Destructor depending on the county in which you live.

You can  obtain a burning permit by calling 1-877-OK2-BURN (652-2876) or click here to obtain burn permit online. Fires should not be initiated before 8:00 a.m. and should be completely extinguished before dark.

If you are burning machine piled natural vegetation or conducting an area burn, please contact the local office of the Georgia Forestry Commission at 706-754-2354. The office is located at 3997 Toccoa Hwy. in Clarkesville.

Dial 706-282-4528 to report a forest fire!

Always check the Fire Weather Forecast and Current Fire Danger Rating for your area before initiating any type of outdoor burn.

You should not burn on days where the fire danger or fire danger forecast is high (class 4 or 5 is considered dangerous).  If the day is a “high class fire day” there will be a warning statement at the top of your district forecast.  Check this site for weather information in your district.

Tree Seedlings

The Georgia Forestry Commission begins taking applications for seedling orders in June for the following planting season (December through February).

All Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) tree seedlings are adapted to Georgia’s unique climate and soils. They have been cultured to provide a fibrous root system, large stem diameter, and abundant energy reserves to insure the best possible survival and growth. Seedlings are sold as bareroot and should be planted as soon as possible. Until planting, keep the seedlings cool and damp. Provide air circulation and protect from heat, freezing, and drying conditions.

Click here to order tree seedlings online