An open-air fire ban has been issued for the city of Ottawa due to the dry grass and brush during the early spring conditions.

The fire ban was issued just hours before firefighters responded to a reported grass fire in the Fernbank Road area. 

The Ottawa Fire Service says the ban on open air burning has been issued, effective immediately, to prevent the “rapid spread of fire” that may be sparked by dry vegetation across the region.

“Early spring conditions include a large volume of dry vegetation left over from last fall which increase risks and can quickly lead to fast and uncontrolled spread of fire,” Ottawa Fire said in a statement on Friday.

All open-air fires are prohibited during the open-air fire 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,” OFS said.

Smokers are also asked to be careful when butting out, and not to throw lit cigarettes out of vehicle windows.  Carelessly discarded cigarettes are a major cause of grass fires during dry periods.

Ottawa Fire says the ban on open fires will remain in place until conditions improve and the green grass starts to show through tall dead grass.