Open fires banned near forests in local MRCs
The snowmelt in southern Quebec and the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs to ban open fires near forests in certain areas of Quebec including the Gatineau Hills.
According to a Société de protection des forêts contre le feu, or SOPFEU, press release, open fires aren’t allowed in or near forests of the MRC des Collines or the MRC la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau.
“Remember that this ban on open fires aims to preserve the operational capacity of SOPFEU and municipal fire departments during the pandemic by limiting the risk of the virus spreading when firefighters respond to alerts,” the release, translated from French, states.
This ban is effective in 62 areas across 11 regions of Quebec. Other areas where open fires are banned in the Outaouais region include Papineau, Gatineau, and Pontiac. People who violate the ban are subject to fines and fees under the Sustainable Forest Development Act.
The only active fire on SOPFEU’s interactive fire map on April 24 is one hectare in size and started April 23 in the MRC La Vallée-du-Richelieu east of Montreal. So far this year SOPFEU has fought 18 fires that have burned a total of 4.7 hectares. Averaging fire data over the past decade, by this date usually 28 fires have burned a total of 15.1 hectares.
An interactive map of active fires, where fire restrictions are in place, and areas of elevated fire risk is available at sopfeu.qc.ca.
To read the full SOPFEU press release, which is available in French only, visit sopfeu.qc.ca/en/communiques/modification-a-linterdiction-de-faire-des-feux-a-ciel-ouvert-en-foret-ou-a-proximite.