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SOPFEU: increasing fire risk and prevention
Article published on 20 May 2020
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The risk of fire has been on the rise in the Pontiac for the past few days and will remain so for the rest of the week.

The Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU) recalls that in the spring, greenery is not yet present. “Brushwood and dead grasses are highly flammable and humidity levels generally remain low in several areas, which can lead to fire outbreaks. It only takes a few hours of sunshine and a little wind to dry out the brush and increase the risk of fire.”

The organization observes that again this year, many citizens underestimate the risk associated with the burning of waste. In fact, almost half of the fires that have occurred in recent weeks in Quebec have been caused by the loss of control of a burning of waste or residual materials made by residents. It is rather suggested to turn to composting, collecting green residues and depositing residual materials at the eco-centre to avoid these burns.

To date, four fires have been declared in the territory of the MRC Pontiac:
- April 18th (near Alleyn-et-Cawood), 3.7 hectares
- May 3rd (near Bristol and the municipality of Pontiac), 0.8 hectares
- May 6th (near Otter Lake), 0.7 hectares
- May 13th (Lac-Nilgault), 3.4 hectares

These fires, all of residential origin, burned a total of 8.6 hectares.

Pandemic operations
With the pandemic situation prevailing in Quebec, SOPFEU recalls that each outing of municipal firefighters and those of SOPFEU increases the risk of contamination. The population is therefore asked to be extra careful, to avoid burning of waste or residual materials and to comply with the ban on open fires in place in areas where the snow cover has disappeared.

The start of the forest fire protection season was also marked by the deployment of a contingency plan aimed at ensuring the continuity of SOPFEU’s operations, despite the operational challenges that this health crisis brings. In addition to the risks associated with contagion which could considerably weaken the operational capacity of SOPFEU in the event of contamination among its personnel, it is also necessary to consider the difficulties of operating during a pandemic, in particular because of the specific protective measures to be implemented. place and difficulties in supplying goods and services.

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