Fire chief calling for increased vigilance after grass fire spreads, carried by wind

OSPRINGE – The Erin fire department was able to get a grass fire under control on April 13, but it is now calling for residents with burn permits to be mindful of the wind when having an outdoor fire.

The call came in around 3:30pm on April 13 for a “huge” grass fire at a property near 1st Line and Wellington Road 124 in Ospringe.

In a phone interview, Fire Chief Jim Sawkins said one of the Erin stations was already deployed to another grass fire at the same time. 

So they called Guelph/Eramosa to assist.

Guelph/Eramosa deputy fire chief Jim Petrik said his crew brought a tanker truck and its grass fire unit.

“It was pretty huge,” Sawkins said. “And with the wind, it was able to jump the road.”

Sawkins said firefighters were able to “get in front of it and push it back,” and the fire was extinguished an about 30 minutes. Sawkins said it’s early in the year for grass fires and last week’s warm weather had people outdoors and burning brush.

“People need to realize how dry the foliage is right now,” he said. “Until the grass greens up, it’s really dry.”

And on windy days, the danger is not just in a fire spreading, but in it jumping to a new site.

In this case, the homeowner was burning leaves and the fire got out of control.

“We’re issuing burn permits,” Sawkins said. “There is no ban in place. But if you’re going to burn, you need to be vigilant.”