Grass fire claims home
Sparks from burning papers spread to lawn, house; family displaced

BUFORD - A parched lawn. A steady wind. A spark.

These, fire officials warn, are ingredients for disaster.

The third substantial grass fire this week in Gwinnett claimed a one-story Buford home Tuesday in the 2600 block of Matlin Way, near Gravel Springs Road. The blaze joined two grass fires Monday near Dacula that threatened a community and snarled a major highway.

Dry vegetation inherent to late-winter months leaves lawns and fields particularly flammable, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge.

On Tuesday, the 1 p.m. fire ignited the home's backyard when a woman living there tried to dispose of some documents by burning them on a patio. In minutes, the fire spread to the ranch-style home, destroying it before firefighters brought the blaze under control about 30 minutes later, Rutledge said.

"She tried to put it out with a garden hose, but it just moved too quickly," he said.

The woman cleared two small children from the home - one of which was visiting - and escaped. She rented the home with her husband and child, Rutledge said.

No injuries were reported.

Two grass fires burning Monday afternoon along Ga. Highway 316 clogged westbound lanes of the busy thoroughfare for several hours, officials said.

The fast-moving fires were about 150 yards apart, near the intersection of Drowning Creek Road in Dacula.

At about the same time, a grass fire damaged the back lawns and privacy fences of properties in the 2000 block of Bluebell Street. Rutledge said the blaze was caused when a hot ember fell from a fire pit.