Many Quebecers may have to celebrate the province National feast holiday this weekend without fireworks due to record wildfire season, the province’s natural resources minister said Tuesday.
Maïté Blanchette Vézina said a ban on outdoor fires – in effect in most of the province north of the St. Lawrence River – includes fireworks.
“It’s important to understand that it would be sad and damaging if fireworks started other fires that could get out of control,” she told reporters in Quebec City.
The provincial holiday, also known as St-Jean-Baptiste Day, falls on June 24 and is often celebrated with fireworks and bonfires.
Blanchette Vézina asked the public—as well as the organizing congregations National feast or Canada Day celebrations – to be careful. “The last thing we want is for the celebrations to contribute to a worsening of the wildfire situation in Quebec,” she said.
Meanwhile, in the northern municipality of Lebel-sur-Quévillon, Que., Mayor Guy Lafrenière described smoky conditions as “intense” and said people should protect themselves with N95 masks.
“For citizens with health problems that may be aggravated by the presence of smoke, it is strongly recommended that you wear an N95 mask and, if possible, move to an area where there may be less smoke,” he said in a video. posted on the community’s Facebook page.
Residents, who were allowed to return home Sunday after being forced out for two weeks, should be prepared to leave again if the wildfire situation worsens, Lafrenière said.
Lebel-sur-Quévillon was the last community in Quebec to be subject to an evacuation order since the start of the wildfire season.
A large fire near the community was moving onto the main road connecting the city to southern Quebec, Lafrenière said, adding that firefighters hoped a river would act as a natural firebreak and prevent the fire from crossing the road. reaches. But he said the situation was worrying as no rain is expected for the weekend.
“We definitely need rain to help the forest firefighters,” he said. “It’s the only way, it’s really the rain that will make the difference in our case.”
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has issued a smog warning for the city and for the neighboring region of Abitibi-Témiscamingue.
Peter Kimbell, a warning preparedness meteorologist at ECCC, said the smog in northwestern Quebec is caused by wildfires. The area has received significantly less precipitation this month than other parts of the province, he added.
By comparison, he said, Sherbrooke, Que., in the Eastern Townships, received nearly 100 millimeters of rain this month, while Val d’Or, a town in Abitibi-Temiscamingue, received just 4 millimeters. “It’s very dry there and so any lightning strike could certainly start more fires,” he said.
Significant rain may arrive next week, Kimbell said, though scattered thunderstorms were forecast for the weekend in parts of the region.
Quebec’s wildfire prevention agency said there were more than 100 wildfires in the province, but only 17 were deemed uncontrollable. It has said this year’s wildfire season is the worst on record.
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