Montreal

Quebec firefighters call for reinforcements as forests burn

Since the end June, more than 200 firefighters have been called in from Saskatchewan, Alberta, Massachusetts and from Parks Canada, according to Quebec's forest fire prevention agency, SOPFEU.

More than 600 firefighters from Canada and northeastern U.S. dispatched to Quebec

Thick smoke covers the Quebec town of Ville-Marie, northwest of Ottawa, due to a forest fire burning nearby. (Tanya Neveu/Radio-Canada)

More than 600 firefighters from across Canada and the northeastern United States are in Quebec, battling forest fires sparked by the hot, dry weather conditions.

Since the end June, more than 200 firefighters have been called in from Saskatchewan, Alberta, Massachusetts and from Parks Canada, according to Quebec's forest fire prevention agency, the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU).

That's in addition to 400 firefighters already called in from New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Hampshire and Maine to help fight the fires.

There are more than 60 active fires burning in the province. Most started due to lightning strikes, as well as the heat and dry conditions, according to SOPFEU spokesperson Mélanie Morin.

One fire, burning in Opémican, a provincial park about 440 kilometres northwest of Ottawa, has already destroyed 11 hectares of forest, according to the SOPFEU website.

There have been 357 fires in the province so far this year, up from an average of 276.

The province has partly lifted a ban on all campfires that went into effect on June 26, however, most of Quebec below the 52° parallel has been labelled an "intensive protection" zone. SOPFEU is asking everyone to use firepits with spark arrestors in order to prevent more fires from starting.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story mistated how many hectares of forest was burning in Opémican provincial park. At the time, 11 hectares were burning, not 11,000.
    Jul 11, 2018 12:02 PM ET

With files from The Canadian Press