Dozen Quebec regions hit with ban on open air fires in forested areas

Anyone who violates the ban is liable to a fine ranging from $500 to $50,000.

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A ban on open-air fires in or near forested areas will come into effect Saturday morning in a dozen regions across Quebec.

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The province’s Ministry of Forests, Fauna and Parks announced the ban on Friday.

The decision, taken in collaboration with the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU), aims to limit the risk of forest fires given the current conditions in the province.

The measure applies to the following regions: Montreal, Laval, Montérégie, Estrie, Mauricie, Chaudière-Appalaches, Laurentides, Outaouais, Lanaudière, Centre-du-Québec, Capitale-Nationale, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

Under Quebec’s Sustainable Forest Development Act, anyone who violates an order prohibiting open fires near a forest is liable to a fine ranging from $500 to $50,000.

With temperatures increasing across Quebec, especially in the south of the province, SOPFEU says conditions over the next few days will be “particularly conducive” to fires spreading in forested areas.

The organization warned dead leaves, grass and branches on the ground dry out quickly in the spring and become highly flammable.

Since the beginning of the season, 69 forest fires have affected 73.5 hectares in Quebec. The average for the same date during the last 10 years is 81 fires burning across 58.8 hectares.

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