Open Air Fire Ban issued for Ottawa as firefighters battle brush fires
An open air fire ban has been issued for the city of Ottawa due to the hot and dry weather.
The Ottawa Fire Service issued the fire ban Wednesday afternoon as firefighters responded to four wildfires in the city.
Four acres of a cornfield were burned in a fire in a field on Shea Road, between Brownlee Road and Garvin Road, near Richmond just after 1 p.m.
Ottawa fire says firefighters stopped the fire in the cornfield before it reached another 10 foot pile of brush, "that would have caused major problems."
Firefighters also responded to a brush fire on Autumnwood Street just after 2 p.m.
Firefighters battled two more grass fires in the south end on Wednesday. Officials say one was in the area of Farriers Lane and Trappers Road and the other at Fox Hollow Crescent and Hunters Point Crescent.
"The first thing I saw was flames,” said Claudette Larocque, describing one of the brush fires just steps away from her home near Fox Hollow Crescent. "We’ve never seen that before back there and it was close so my first instinct was to call 911."
The sweltering heat an additional challenge for Ottawa Fire.
"We had a rehab set up because the crews were getting hot very quick,” District Chief Peter Lamar. "We sent one firefighter to the hospital via ambulance. He suffered a heat stressed injury."
Ottawa has seen a stretch of hot, sunny weather and there hasn’t been any rain in the last seven days. Rain isn’t forecast until at least Sunday.
“We’re asking the public to be vigilant keep an eye out and be very careful,” said Lamar.
All open air fires are prohibited during a ban, including properties that have an Open Air Fire Permit. This ban applies to agricultural burns, brush pile burns, as well as campfires and wood burning outdoor fireplaces. Devices which do not require a permit such as propane, ethanol, and natural gas outdoor fireplaces and barbecues are not included in the ban.
The ban will be in effect until further notice.
The Ottawa Fire Service offers the following tips to reduce the risk of a brush fire around your home:
- Clear all combustible materials such as tree limbs, leaves and other dry materials away from buildings and propane tanks
- Keep barbecue propane tanks at least three metres from buildings
- Wood piles should be stored a safe distance from your home
- Trees should be pruned to create a good vertical separation from the ground
- Clear out any accumulated dry or dead debris from your property
Officials also ask people to be careful when butting out a cigarette.
"Carelessly discarded cigarettes continue to be a major cause of grass fires during these dry periods," Ottawa Fire Service said. "Do not throw lit cigarettes out vehicle windows."
With files from CTV News Ottawa's Jackie Perez