The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) is reminding residents to be cautious and take steps to prevent vegetation fires until it greens up.

Just after 1 p.m. on Thursday, WFPS responded to reports of a vegetation fire in area of the Transcona Bioreserve Loop.

Crews found a significant grass and bush fire, covering an area the size of a football field upon arrival. The WFPS drone was launched and the images were used to direct crews to hotspots. Specialized wildland firefighting equipment was used to fight the fire.

The fire was declared under control at 1:59 p.m. No injuries were reported.

Grass and wildland fire prevention

With dry and windy spring conditions, the WFPS is asking residents to take steps to reduce the risk of grass and wildland fires in our community.

Normally, WFPS responds to 200 wind-driven ground fires involving grass, bush, and dead plant matter within the city limits each year. When conditions are drier than normal, the number increases. These fires often spread quickly and can threaten property, or in some cases, cause extensive damage to properties.

“Until it greens up or we get some significant rain, there is an increased risk for grass and wildland fires, particularly when we have high winds,” said Scott Wilkinson, Deputy Chief, Fire Rescue Operations and Training in a press release. “Almost all wildland fires are a result of human activity. We are asking residents to be cautious and take steps to prevent these fires. It’s also important for property owners near wildland areas to properly maintain their yards to reduce their risks.”

Protecting your property:

  • Thin and prune vegetation, removing trees and cleaning up brush, leaves, grass and debris
  • Plant fire-resistant plants and shrubs – avoid flammable plants and trees that accumulate dry, dead material, or have papery bark
  • Water plants and vegetation in the area surrounding your home, particularly during dry conditions
  • Store firewood at least 10 metres away from structures
  • Position your approved fire pits/receptacles in an open area away from overhanging trees

Preventing wildland and grass fires

  • Remember – fires cannot be started, even with a proper fire permit, if wind speeds and/or gusts exceed 25 km/h
  • Only burn clean, dry, untreated wood – do not burn yard waste, garbage, or scrap material on your property, doing so within city limits is prohibited and can result in a fine
  • Only use approved outdoor fire receptacles such as fire pits, fire places and outdoor BBQs
    • Fire pits must be enclosed on all sides and have a spark arrestor
  • Always have a means to extinguish the fire readily available
  • Do not dispose of cigarette butts in any sort of vegetation (including grass), in planter pots, or from vehicle windows
  • Speak to your children about the risks of starting fires

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