Open-air fires either in or close to forests have been banned in certain areas across southern Quebec because of current weather conditions.
The ban was put in place on Wednesday by Quebec’s ministry of forests, fauna and parks.
Areas from Quebec City to the Outaouais region and everything south of that fall under the ban, including Montreal, Laval and parts of the Eastern Townships. The ban was expanded Thursday to include all areas of the province south of the 47th parallel.
The ban was announced at the same time as a fire ripped through six hectares of forest in Mont St-Grégoire Wednesday.
According to the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU), the fire was started by a resident burning a fire nearby and was controlled by Thursday morning by local firefighters and two air tankers.
The ban comes after more than 120 fires were caused in the last week by the “poor vigilance” of Quebecers, said SOPFEU spokesperson Éloîse Richard.
A total of 127 fires have burned through 143 hectares of forest so far this May. The average over the last 10 years for the same date is 90 fires and 78 hectares.
“It’s extremely dry right now, there’s still a lot of dead leaves, small branches and hay around, and we haven’t had any really significant rain recently,” Richard said.
There are currently 11 forest fires burning in Quebec.