On April 3 rd 2020, the Government of Ontario instituted a fire ban that effectively prohibited all outdoor fires within Ontario’s fire region during the COVID-19 emergency to protect first responders. On the same day, on the recommendation of the Sarnia Primary Control Group (SPCG), in consultation with the Sarnia Fire Chief and the Sarnia Chief of Police, Mayor Mike Bradley issued a complementary fire ban through Emergency Order No 1 relative to the “prohibition on outdoor fires within the City of Sarnia to protect the safety of first responders and enforce physical distancing measures in place to stop the spread of the COVID-19 disease” which is set to expire on May 3 rd 2020.
The Premier of Ontario and Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health are both encouraging that our communities stay the course until there is a sustained 2 to 4 week decrease in new COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations. With over 180 confirmed cases of COVID-19 that led to 14 deaths and 3
institutional outbreaks to date, Sarnia is one of the communities within the province of Ontario that has been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the declaration of a State of Emergency by both the Government of Ontario and the City of Sarnia in early March, SPCG has met daily to deliberate on best approaches to combat the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak and protect the community.
Taking into consideration the local agricultural needs of the community and, on the recommendation of the Sarnia Fire Chief, the SPCG has recommended that the City of Sarnia issue Emergency Order No 2 to allow for the issuance of rural burn permits to support farming operations within our community who have a need to clear brush to prepare farming fields, while maintaining the current restrictions on recreational open fires until May 31st 2020, pending the implementation of Phase 1 of the Government of Ontario’s plan to re-open the economy.
“We understand the desire to sit outside and relax around a fire with members of your home and the frustration felt by some” said Sarnia Fire Chief Brian Arnold. “We appreciate your continued patience and thank everyone who is sacrificing for us all. Please stay the course a little longer as we look for indicators from the Province and Medical Officer of Health to ease restrictions.”