The Outdoor Fire Ban ended May 8, 2020

The Mayor issued Emergency Order No. 3 on May 8, 2020 which allows all previously issued open burning restrictions within the City of Sarnia to be repealed effective immediately.

In light of the easing of these restrictions, we remind residents that they must continue to fully comply with the conditions outlined in the City of Sarnia’s Open Air Burning By-Law. Please continue to practice health measures that remain in place, such as the requirement to maintain physical distancing and not gather in groups of more than 5 people. Any recreational campfire is to be enjoyed by your immediate household only.

Sarnia Fire Chief Arnold said “The SPCG continues to monitor provincial developments, consult with the Medical Officer of Health. We thank the community for their cooperation and patience during this time as we dealt with measures needed to ensure the safety of our residents and employees due to COVID-19.

Natural Gas or Propane Appliances Remain Permissible

Regular controlled burn activities that are based on natural gas or propane appliances, such as outdoor heaters and BBQs, remain permissible

EMERGENCY ORDER No. 2 – May 1st, 2020

On April 3rd 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 3rd 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.”

EMERGENCY ORDER No. 1 – Dated April 3, 2020

Based on the advice and recommendation of the Sarnia Fire Chief, in consultation with the Sarnia Chief of Police, who both recommended that a general prohibition on outdoor fires be put in place on account of the existence of hazardous conditions related to the prevalence of the COVID-19 disease.

Please see the attached City of Sarnia Emergency Order No. 1, (“To enact a general 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.”) signed by Mayor Mike Bradley and dated today, April 3, 2020.

Following the issuance of Emergency Order No. 1 implementing a general prohibition on open burn activities within the City of Sarnia, we would like to clarify that the Emergency Order only covers burn activities that may cause sparks that produce hazards that place the safety of our first responders at risk.  As such, regular controlled burn activities that are based on natural gas or propane appliances, such as outdoor heaters and BBQs, remain permissible.  In relation to Emergency Order No. 1, Sarnia Fire Chief Brian Arnold said:

“While I understand the frustration that some members of the community feel with what appears to be further restrictions on their activities by government, I can assure you that we would not be asking our community members to make these short term sacrifices if we did not believe that these temporary measures are absolutely necessary for the protection of our first responders and our community during these trying times.”

Sarnia Police Chief Norm Hansen issued the following statement in support of the emergency measures currently in place:

“After a month of increasing restrictions, we are still faced with tough decisions to try to beat this pandemic. Your Fire Service is trying to do what they can to limit exposure of their staff and for people who would gather in excess of the Provincially mandated five persons. None of the restrictions that have been placed on us are enjoyable, but certainly are worth it if it can save a life. To Mayor Bradley and Chief Arnold, the Sarnia Police Service has your back. Thanks to all the citizens who are helping to beat Covid-19.”