WINDSOR, ONT. -- The municipality of Chatham-Kent is following the lead of a number of area municipalities by suspending open air burn permits.

The municipality issues permits to homeowners who wish to have campfires in their yards.

But Chatham-Kent has stopped issuing them for 28 days to hopefully reduce the number of unnecessary calls to the fire department.

Fire Chief Chris Case says they get 300 such calls each year. But Case hopes the ban will help reduce the potential of firefighters interacting with the public when avoidable.

Since the municipality stopped issuing permits — the Chatham-Kent fire department still received 12 calls last weekend.

Chief Case believes they may have to issue more than verbal warnings to homeowners.

“As we haven’t issued any fines yet, I can tell you that we’re going to have to enforce this action because we’re trying to keep out firefighters safe, and we’re trying to keep the public safe,” said Case.