National Day | Vigilance is required with bonfires and fireworks

Illustrative image from Depositphotos

As the National Day long weekend approaches, the Society for the Protection of Forests against Fire (SOPFEU) reminds us that it is important to celebrate in complete safety.

Over the next few days, other festive activities will be held, such as National Indigenous Peoples Day, Canada Day and various regional festivities. This celebratory time is largely associated with bonfires and fireworks. In this regard, according to statistics compiled by SOPFEU, approximately 60 forest fires per year originate from poorly extinguished campfires. Additionally, fireworks are responsible for three forest fires per year.

SOPFEU reminds that a ban on open fires has been in effect since Thursday noon in several sectors of Bas-Saint-Laurent and in the regions of Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine and the Côte-Nord. Bonfires and fireworks are therefore prohibited there until further notice.

For the rest of Quebec, the protection organization reminds the safety rules in order to avoid the outbreak of forest or vegetation fires:

For a safe campfire:

  • Check with SOPFEU and your municipality if open fires are permitted;
  • Avoid starting a fire if the fire danger ranges from High to Extreme;
  • Avoid starting a fire if the wind blows more than 20 km/h;
  • Clear the ground of any combustible material (grass, twigs, dead leaves);
  • Light a fire with a maximum dimension of one meter by one meter;
  • Carry out constant monitoring and ensure you have a water reserve nearby;
  • Extinguish the fire by pouring water on it and mixing the embers well;
  • Repeat until no heat source remains;
  • Remain on scene until the fire is completely extinguished.

For hassle-free fireworks:

  • Check with your municipality if fireworks are permitted;
  • Avoid setting off fireworks if the fire danger ranges from High to Extreme;
  • Avoid setting off fireworks if the wind blows more than 20 km/h;
  • Choose a location far from wooded areas;
  • Clear the ignition site of any combustible material;
  • Inspect the site after the activity to ensure that no combustion remains.

To consult the fire danger, SOPFEU invites the population to visit its website. Since the start of spring in the intensive protection zone, 185 vegetation fires have affected 11,974 hectares of forest, 81% of which are attributable to human activity.

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