The heat that has returned over the last few days is a source of joy for some, but such high temperatures are also conducive to fires. This means that fires starting in Quebec could possibly not be uncommon for the next little while. And, for the past two days, a forest fire in Lac-Saint-Jean has been wreaking havoc, creating a massive wall of smoke.

The fire broke out in the Chute-des-Passes sector of the Maria-Chapdelaine RCM on Tuesday, June 16. According to the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU), the fire is considered out of control.

As of June 18, the organization estimates that the flames now cover an area of nearly 4,000 hectares.

As told to Narcity Québec, SOPFEU indicates that four tankers are currently working to extinguish the blaze. There are also a large number of firefighters present on the ground.

"With the weather conditions, the estimated spread rate will be very high," explains Josée Poitras, communications officer with the organization.

Dry weather will contribute to the rapid progression of the fire, she says.

Below is a video of the forest fire.

It has been this way for two days now.

Aerial images shared by pilots on-site show the flames engulfing the trees and the sky covered with a thick plume of smoke.

Josée Poitras says that the teams on-site are also working to protect infrastructures such as the Serpent River Bridge and Rio Tinto Alcan power lines.

The heatwave hitting Quebec has increased the risk of forest fires over a large part of the territory.

On its website, SOPFEU indicates that almost all regions in the south, west and east of the province are in "extreme" danger.

Including the Lac-Saint-Jean fire, nine forest fires are currently active in Quebec.

This Tuesday, the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks once again banned open fires in the forest for many territories in Quebec.

It also reminds that anyone who contravenes this ban could be liable to a fine of $500 to $50,000.


This article was originally published in French on Narcity Québec.

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