Quebec should avoid major floods again this year

However, a prolonged period of dry weather will likely raise the risk of forest fires.

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All indications point to Quebec being spared floods this spring, despite the imposing blanket of snow remaining in several regions. Climactic conditions are, however, a concern when it comes to forest fires.

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The prolonged absence of strong rains, combined with cool nights of recent weeks allowed southern Quebec to avoid major floods.

As for the eastern part of the province, where snow coverage remains, civil security explained in an email to La Presse Canadienne “the snow melt alone will have a limited impact in terms of floods. To have major consequences, there would have to also be a lot of rain.”

According to Environment Canada, no major precipitation is expected in the short term, apart from light rain on Tuesday. Following that, warm and dry weather is expected for the rest of the week. There is the possibility of some rain next weekend, but no major rainfall for Quebec.

In other words, there is little to fear, even in regions civil security has placed “under surveillance due to important snow coverage.” These regions include Mauricie (for the St-Maurice River), the Quebec City region (for the rivers that flow from the Réserve faunique des Laurentides and Charlevoix), the Saguenay, the Côte-Nord and Gaspé.

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So far, civil security has reported only minor floods in all of Quebec, in Lac Maskinongé, in St-Gabriel-de-Brandon in Lanaudière, in the Croche River, on the border of Mauricie and Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, and at the Harricana River, near Amos, in Abitibi.

Last year, southern Quebec was hit by a drought at the end of spring, following two straight years of major flooding, in 2019 and 2020.

But if the situation is reassuring in terms of flooding, it’s another story for forest fires. The Ministry of Forestry, Fauna and Parks announced a ban on open-air fires in or near forests in the regions of Montreal, Laval, Montérégie, Estrie, Mauricie, Chaudière-Appalaches, the Laurentians, the Outaouais, Lanaudière, central Quebec, Quebec City, the lower St-Lawrence and Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

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Two forest fires are currently active, one of eight hectares in the Regional County Municipality (RCM) of Antoine-Labelle, in the Laurentians, and one of a bit less than a hectare in the MRC of Matawinie, also in the Laurentians. Both fires are under control.

Since the beginning of the season, the Société de protections des forêts contre le feu has reported 69 forest fires invovling 73.5 hectares, compared with the average over 10 years of 81 fires over an area of ​​58.8 hectares.

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