First seasonal brush fire scorches five acres in South Stormont

South Stormont firefighters beat down a fire in a corn field on Eligh-Beckstead Road on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The fire chief says a homeowner was burning brush when the fire got out of control in the wind and scorched five acres. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

NORTH VALLEY – South Stormont firefighters battled their first major grass and brush fire of the season on a farm north of Osnabruck Center Tuesday afternoon.

South Stormont Fire Chief Gilles Crepeau told Cornwall Newswatch the homeowner on Eligh-Beckstead Road was burning brush when the embers got caught up in the wind and the fire took off.

“It’s one of the cautions we try to tell these people when they’re having a brush fire. Be aware that the wind can catch it and fighting these fires are labour intensive,” Crepeau told Cornwall Newswatch.

Roughly 15 firefighters from the Long Sault, Ingleside and Newington stations had to chase the fire through some thick brush next to the home and barn and across a large section of corn field.

The fire, fanned by a 25 kilometer an hour wind, scorched about five acres (two hectares).

“The guys did a great job. We have forestry hose and extended it and got ahead of the fire and started soaking down the area and (then) put out all the hot spots,” Crepeau said.

South Stormont does have a bylaw that requires a yearly permit for open air burning in rural areas. You are also not permitted to burn when the wind is stronger than eight kilometers an hour. The fine is $150.

“Property owners have to follow our bylaw and we’ll send our fire prevention officer to make sure he has his proper burn permit and just review the bylaw with the property owner to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Crepeau said.

Looking ahead, the chief is cautioning people to be careful with outdoor fires. “It’s just starting to dry. Everything is getting dry,” he said.

Smoke wafts from a tree stump behind a farm on Eligh-Beckstead Road in South Stormont on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Fire Chief Gilles Crepeau says the homeowner was burning brush when the fire got out of control after embers were caught by the strong wind. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)
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