During the month of July, a total of four forest fires were started on the territory of the MRC Pontiac, all caused by lightning.
This phenomenon occurs regularly during the summer, as explained by the prevention and communications officer of the Société de la protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU), Mélanie Morin.
Since the start of the season, the SOPFEU has counted a total of 13 forest fires in the Pontiac, which seems to correspond to the annual average.
Although the fire danger is currently “low”, the index could change in the coming days due to the expected high temperatures.
The SOPFEU stresses that the forest fire season is not over yet. Badly extinguished campfires, cigarette butts, and all-terrain vehicles can all start a forest fire. The organization invites the public to consult the fire danger on its website or via its mobile application before engaging in recreational activities.
The full interview with Mélanie Morin regarding the most recent fire report in the region is available here.
In Quebec, after a very busy start to the season, SOPFEU noticed a certain lull from the second week of July, despite the hot temperatures well above seasonal norms. In the past month, 73 fires - including 32 caused by lightning - have consumed 194.8 hectares (ha) of forest in the intensive protection zone. However, this number of fires is below the average of the last 10 years for a month of July, ie 98 fires. In addition, the total areas affected are clearly below the average, which stands at 5,928.62 ha.
Note that 63% of the fires that occurred in the last month started in the first week of July, which was particularly dry.
The start of summer was marked by the outbreak of two major fires. These blazes generated a significant workload, which continued in July. Fire 395, in the Chute-des-Passes sector, north of Lac-Saint-Jean, started on June 16, and burned 59,936 ha. After several days of work, it was finally able to be subdued on July 8. Two days later, a total lifting of the ban on access to the forest in the security perimeter surrounding the blaze was announced by the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks. SOPFEU firefighters are still working on the fire site to extinguish the many residual hot spots.
The 433th fire at Rivière-Ouelle, declared on June 19 in a peat bog, was officially extinguished on Friday July 24. The fire, which burned 361.1 ha, required the mobilization of a large number of forest firefighters, in addition to municipal firefighters and the contribution of local farmers since this type of fire takes hold at depth and requires more ground watering operations and hot spot monitoring. Caution remains important Since the start of the 2020 season, SOPFEU has intervened in 602 fires, which have burned 61,487.4 ha in the intensive protection zone.