In a press release sent by the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU), they recalled that recreational activities such as hunting are partly responsible for these fires. In order to avoid unfortunate situations, SOPFEU recommends that hunters maintain good practices to prevent forest fires. The forest protection organization recalls that in the fall, a few hours of sunshine is enough to dry out dead leaves, twigs and other small fuels that accumulate on the ground. You must therefore always remain vigilant with the use of fire and consult the fire danger before entering the forest.
All terrain vehicles
When traveling off marked trails, leaves, branches or other organic matter may become lodged near hot parts of the vehicle. It is important to clean the exhaust pipe and the engine, as they can easily ignite any fuel that could stick to it. SOPFEU recommends that you do this check on each hike and avoid traveling off the trails when the danger of fire is high.
When it comes to smokers, there are a few precautions to keep in mind. The Forest Protection Regulations stipulate that no one may smoke in or near the forest while carrying out work or while traveling. To smoke, you must therefore stop on an open surface. Before resuming activities, it is necessary to extinguish the butt by wetting it and crushing it against a rock. It is not necessary never leave a cigarette butt in the forest! A bottle with a bottom of water or a container with a lid is an effective solution to bring it back safely.
Chalets and temporary shelters
A fire in a cottage or rough shelter is also a potential source of forest fires. Often, heating equipment is the source of ignition of these fires. In addition to checking that it is in good condition, it is recommended to inspect the chimney and make sure that the spark arresters are present and compliant with openings not exceeding one centimeter.
Campfires are also responsible for several forest fires each year. To enjoy it in complete safety, SOPFEU recommends choosing an open area on ground free of any combustible material (leaves, grass or other) and lighting a fire with a maximum dimension of one meter by one meter. It is important to watch the fire at all times and keep water nearby. Finally, when leaving, make sure to completely extinguish your campfire by watering it abundantly and mixing the embers.
Since the start of the protection season in Quebec, 635 fires fought in the intensive protection zone have affected 61,517.8 hectares (ha) of forest. The average of the last ten years is 427 fires having affected 35,442.9 ha of forest in Quebec. SOPFEU would like to point out that around 75% of these fires are attributable to human activity. The collaboration of all remains essential to reduce the number.