Quebec forest fire risk highest it's been in a decade

The annual number of forest fires this year is the highest it’s been in a decade, according to the province’s forest fire prevention agency.

192 fires burned in Quebec forest since the start of 2015

Stock image: There have already been 189 forest fires in Quebec this year. (Mitch Miller/Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources/Canadian Press)

The annual number of forest fires this year is the highest it's been in a decade, according to the province's forest fire prevention agency (SOPFEU).

In Quebec, 192 fires burned more than two million square metres (two square kilometres) of forest since the start of 2015.

In the month of May alone, five forest fires popped up in eastern Quebec, three of them in the Côte-Nord region.

Earlier this week, a fire in Matamek near Sept-Îles, ravaged 10,000 square metres of vegetation — the equivalent of two football fields.

SOPFEU said all of them were caused by humans and could have been avoided.

Eloise Richard of SOPFEU said many of the fires were caused by people burning dead leaves and other waste.

There is now a ban on open fires in all of southern Quebec, stretching from the Ontario border to Quebec City. Check SOPFEU's website for more on the areas under the ban.

The risk of fire remains elevated in the Lower St. Lawrence and the majority of the Gaspésie region.

SOPFEU has identified the risk of forest fires in regions of Quebec. Blue means low risk, green is moderate, yellow is elevated and red is extreme. (SOPFEU)

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