The risk of fire in the Pontiac will be “high” this week, as weather forecasts predict dry and hot weather in the coming days.
The Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU) calls on the public to be cautious in this regard. Lack of precipitation and low relative humidity will increase the vulnerability of the forest across the province.
These weather conditions favor the outbreak of fires in and near the forest. As soon as the fire danger shows “high”, the protection organization recommends avoiding fires.
For the moment, there is no formal ban on open fires in Quebec. The cool, humid conditions of the past two weeks have given respite to the forest, which was hit hard at the start of the season. SOPFEU stresses, however, that wildlife reserves, parks, zecs and municipalities have the right to regulate the use of fire on their territory; this includes, among other things, waste burns, open fires, cooking fires and fireworks. Citizens and visitors should always be aware of applicable regulations and restrictions.
When allowed, the safest place to start a fire is in a fireplace with a spark arrester with holes no larger than one square centimeter. Whether in a fire pit or campfire, a fire must always be made on a ground well cleared of all fuel, sheltered from the wind and with constant surveillance. SOPFEU also recalls that it must always be extinguished with water and sand before leaving the premises.
Since the start of the protection season, 385 fires have been started affecting 571.3 hectares (ha) of forest. Ninety-nine percent of these fires are caused by human activity. On average, SOPFEU records at this time of the year 206 fires for 22,848.8 ha of forest affected.