Winds fan debris fire out of control

A debris fire in a makeshift backyard fire pit was fanned by strong winds Thursday. It took off through the yard and into the brush, threatening homes in nearby subdivisions, said Capt. Brian Sipe of the Spring Lake Township Fire Department.
Becky Vargo
May 25, 2012


Firefighters called to the Jerom Leech residence at 15451 Leonard Road found flames more than 20 feet high in the trees when they arrived shortly after 3:50 p.m., Sipe said.

Firefighters had to wear water cans on their backs to get to the fire, he said. So Grand Haven firefighters were requested to assist with that department's all-terrain vehicle.

Sipe said the ATV enabled them to knock down the fire before it really took hold in a brush line behind the Scenic Court and Trail subdivisions off 152nd Avenue and Rannes Street.

No structures were involved, and damage was contained to the wooded and brush areas between the subdivisions.

Sipe said about an acre of land burned.

The fire captain emphasized that no burning permits would have been allowed on such a windy day. Even if someone had a permit, it could only be used on scheduled burning days, which occurs one day every two months.

Sipe said the next scheduled burn day in Spring Lake Township is July 21.

Recreational fires are allowed anytime without a permit, but people should still be aware that wind can fan embers that are not totally extinguished.

Information on burning permits can be found on the township website at

Debris fires are not allowed within 1,400 feet of the Village of Spring Lake or the city of Ferrysburg.


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