Burn ban scofflaws keep firefighters busy
The tinder-dry landscape in Norfolk County means that grass fires can break out anytime where you least expect them. This was the view Monday afternoon west from the Black Bridge in Waterford. There, a grass fire broke out next to the paved walking trail west of the Alice Street train station. Norfolk Fire & Rescue says the blaze was caused by careless smoking. (MONTE SONNENBERG Simcoe Reformer)
Some in Norfolk are having difficulty understanding that the local countryside is tinder dry and that now is not a good time to light fires.
Norfolk Fire & Rescue imposed a ban to this effect last month but still the illegal fires continue. Local firefighters responded to 30 open-air burning complaints this holiday weekend. Four of these fires got out of control and necessitated a full-blown response from local firefighters.
“The message we are trying to communicate with our residents and visitors is you are putting others at risk when you don’t comply with the open-air burn ban,” Norfolk fire prevention officer Scott Pipe said Monday in an email.
“For several hours – especially at night – we had trucks responding to burn complaints. Those trucks are not available to deal with a more serious emergency should one occur. Of course, there is still the very serious risk of the open-air fire spreading and causing a fire not only on the offender’s property but also the neighbouring properties.”
As an added precaution, Norfolk County has also banned amateur fireworks displays due to the possibility of sparks landing on dead grass and igniting the local landscape.
Dry conditions in Norfolk will remain an issue at least through this weekend. The Simcoe forecast from Environment Canada predicts a 30 per cent chance of showers Wednesday and a 40 per cent chance on Friday.
Over in Haldimand County, authorities continue to monitor the situation and play it by ear. Haldimand Fire & Rescue so far has not seen fit to impose restrictions on open-air burning or recreational uses of fire such as fireworks.
“We have had very few issues and no serious fires, so at this time we have no ban in place,” fire chief Rob Grimwood said Monday.