Open campfire ban takes effect today in Quebec forests

Quebec’s forest fire prevention agency is reminding campers that today marks the first day of an open fire ban in forests across the province.

Hot, dry conditions force ban in forests across the province

A water bomber flies over the forest near Kuujjuaq, Que. Quebec's forest fire prevention agency, SOPFEU, dispatched water bombers to tackle a fire burning near the community earlier this week. (Isabelle Dubois)

Quebec’s forest fire prevention agency is banning open fires near forests across the province starting today.

Officials say the ban is necessary because of the heat and dry conditions.

Firefighters in Quebec have already battled more than 90 forests fires since the spring and three are still burning.

That number is well below the provincial average for this time of year thanks to a cold, wet spring, the agency says. However, conditions are now ripe for more fires.

Agency spokesperson Mireille Rioux said the fire risk is especially high in Quebec's northern regions, which are facing extremely dry conditions.

The open campfire ban was officially declared by Laurent Lessard, Quebec’s minister of forests, wildlife and parks, and takes effect today at 8 a.m.

Open fires are prohibited in the following areas:

Northern Québec: Jamésie south of latitude 52º, Eeyou Istchee (Waswanipi, Mistissini, Oujé-Bougoumou, Waskaganish, Nemiscau).

North Shore:Upper North Shore, Manicouagan, Sept-Rivières, Caniapiscau, Minganie excluding Anticosti Island.

SaguenayLac-Saint-Jean: Domaine-du-Roy, Lac-Saint-Jean-Est, Maria-Chapdelaine region south of Latitude 52º and the Fjord-du-Saguenay region south of Latitude 52º to Saguenay.

Abitibi-Témiscamingue: Rouyn-Noranda, Abitibi-West, Abitibi, La Vallée-de-l’Or, Témiscamingue region north of Latitude 47º.

Mauricie: La Tuque, Mékinac region north of Latitude 47º.

Outaouais: North of Latitude 47º, Gatineau Valley and Pontiac.

Laurentians: Antoine-Labelle region north of Latitude 47º.

Lanaudière: Matawinie region north of Latitude 47º.