The hot and dry conditions have forced officials in Chatham-Kent to issue an open-air fire ban.

Chatham-Kent Fire & Emergency Services says the ban covers the entire municipality due to the lack of significant rainfall and forecasted hot dry conditions.

Fire officials also note the provincial forest and wild-land fire indicators are at extreme levels.

All open-air fires are prohibited during a fire ban include those properties that have an Open-Air Fire Permit. This ban applies to agricultural burns, recreation campfires, outdoor fireplaces/chimineas or any other fires set in open air.

“We must all do our part by not burning and we are reminding residence to be extra careful with anything that could spark a fire,” explains Operations Chief Chris Case. “It’s not just campfires that pose a risk and something as simple as tossing a lit cigarette out a car window, could have very serious implications with the dry weather we are having.”

The municipality issues this fire ban under the open-air fire bylaw section 7.1 “Despite the existence of valid Burn Permits, the Chief Fire Official or designate may issue a Burn Ban on any or all Open-Air Fires or may suspend  without recourse any or all Burn Permits and cause to be extinguished all Open-Air fires.”

Officials urge residents to use exercise extreme caution during a fire ban.

• Watch your propane or gas equipment carefully

• Cigarettes; carelessly discarding cigarettes continue to be a major cause of grass fires during these dry periods. Smokers are reminded to please use care when butting out. Do not throw lit cigarettes out of vehicles.

• Be extra cautious of anything that could start a fire.

Once a fire ban is declared, it is illegal to set a fire for any purpose within the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.