As the period of extreme heat continues, forest fires are raging in Quebec. The Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU) counts 22 active fires in the province as of 10:30 a.m. Monday morning, for a total of 460 this year so far. That's almost two times as many as the ten-year average as of this date, according to SOPFEU.
Lightning strikes are to blame for a jump in the number of fires on Sunday, according to The Weather Network.
All of southern Quebec is under an "extreme" risk of fires, SOPFEU says.
The same areas are subject to a complete ban on open-air fires.
The organization still lists the status of the fire north of Lac St-Jean as "out of control."
That fire has covered over 71,000 hectares.
Recreational activity likely kicked it off.
At their last update on the situation on Sunday, Pierre Dufour, the minister of flora, fauna, and parks, and Andrée Laforest, the minister responsible for the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region, said that the arrival of "higher relative humidity" is helping firefighters, but "changing winds remain a concern, as this could influence the direction of fire spread more than once during the day."
Moreover, "the entire area of the fire is now off-limits" to the public.
Smoke from the fires has also produced poor air quality across Quebec.
On Sunday, the smog that settled over Montreal was likely a result of the fires in the faraway Kamouraska region.
A special weather statement from Environment Canada Monday continues to warn of "high levels of air pollution" in the Chutes-des-Passes – Pipmuacan Reservoir area, Labrieville area, Manic-3 area, and Manic-5 area.
Video compiled by The Weather Network on June 21 shows the walls of smoke produced by the fires.
Environment Canada has once again issued heat warnings for much of southern Quebec.
The heat is expected to last until Tuesday with humidex values between 35 and 40.
The heat could be even more intense in "highly urbanised areas" where "weather will be particularly uncomfortable," Environment Canada says.
In its latest update on the "out-of-control" fire posted Monday morning, SOPFEU wrote that 64 "forest firefighters are working in the various fire sectors, not counting the fire management team, pilots and personnel from certain suppliers who support operations, bringing the total number of people present at the camp to 129."