Major Quebec forest fire under control; province lifts ban on open fires
A firefighter walks toward a major field and forest fire at Lambert Peat moss fields in Riviere-Ouelle, Que., Friday, June 19, 2020. The fire spread over more than 10 km, pushed by strong winds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
The arrival of rain over Quebec has helped stop the spread of forest fires in the province.
So far in 2020, the province has seen over 500 such fires.
“It's a lot when you think that a full average season has 450 fires,” said Society for the Protection of Forests Against Fire communications coordinator Stephane Caron.
As of Wednesday, the province had recorded a total of 502 forest fires, affecting more than 63,400 hectares, twice the average of 236 fires affecting 27,300 hectares reported in the same period over the past 10 years.
Hot and dry temperatures led to the province banning open fires in or near the forest. On Wednesday, the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks announced it would lift that ban, with the exception of certain sectors of Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean and the North Shore.
Caron said Quebecers should not let their guard down, saying a dry spring makes summer conditions unpredictable. He said lightning, which can be frequent in the month of July, could cause more fires.
MAJOR FIRE CONTAINED
A downpour on Tuesday offered some relief to firefighters still battling a fire that started in the Chute-des-Passes sector in the north of Lac-St-Jean.
That fire has been out of control for a week but is now considered “contained,” according to Caron.
“It allows us to work on it precisely, to properly surround the entire perimeter,” he said of the rain.
A total of 140 firefighters, including reinforcements from Ontario and Alberta, were still at work on the fire on Wednesday.