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Jorge Maria LJI Reporter

Tinder-dry forests across the region continued to be a top concern for SOPFEU last Thursday until Friday’s downpour.

Quebec’s forest fire fighting organization, SOPFEU, had been sending out almost daily updates as the situation changed on the ground.

SOPFEU sent out a press release on June 17 which warned against unauthorized aircraft flying over fire zones. Drones and other aircraft seeking to capture images of the numerous fires are forbidden. The vehicles pose a significant risk to firefighting aircraft. The smoke-filled sky increases the risk of fatal collisions and hinders firefighters’ critical and dangerous work on the ground.

“Section 601.15 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) states that it is prohibited to operate an aircraft at an altitude below 3000 feet AGL (Above Ground Level) above a fire zone of forest or the area five nautical miles or less from the forest fire zone,” SOPFEU said (translated).

By Saturday, June 19, The Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks released a press release detailing their decision to lift the ban on open fires in or near the forest. This decision, taken in collaboration with the Société de SOPFEU, means all fire bans are lifted as of June 19, putting an end to the fire ban after just 10 days.

“Currently, 23 forest fires are active, but firefighting operations are progressing well, with all fires contained or under control. Since the beginning of the protection season, 397 fires have affected 7567.3 hectares,” the press release said (translated from French).

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