It's an anniversary Sandra Andressen would rather forget.

One year ago Wednesday, her home was destroyed when fire swept through the town of Vita, southeast of Winnipeg. It was one of four homes levelled in the out-of-control grass fire.

Andressen didn't know there was fire in the area until it was in her yard. She said in an instant, she lost everything.

Homes burned

Four homes, as well as several vehicles and other property, burned down during raging grass fires that went out of control in Vita in October 2012. (CBC)

She has rebuilt her home, but she remains rattled by anxiety.

"I'm scared. Like when I see smoke around, I'm totally scared," she said.

"Like in the country, you usually burn your own garbage but I won't do it because I'm afraid to catch on fire or something. I'm totally scared of fire now."​

The fires also destroyed a bridge on Highway 201 that led to two vehicles crashing through the burnt-out span.

Raging fires to snow drifts

The fire was the first of two extreme hits the community took.

By Oct. 5, the area was blanketed with 25 centimetres of snow. It helped to douse the fires, but left thousands of people in southern Manitoba, including Vita, without power.

Many communities declared states of emergency to deal with the sudden slap from winter.