Worst year in a decade for forest fires in Quebec and COVID-19 is partly to blame, say firefighters

A firefighter walks toward a major field and forest fire at Lambert Peat moss fields in Riviere-Ouelle, Que., Friday, June 19, 2020. The fire spread over more than 10 km, pushed by strong winds. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

By / Franca G. Mignacca · CBC News

Quebec’s hot summer so far, with long stretches of little rain, has contributed to a large increase in the number of forest fires around the province.

It is only early July but 2020 is already the worst year in a decade in terms of hectares lost to forest fire in Quebec.

Since January, nearly 61,300 hectares of forest have been destroyed by fire in what’s known as Quebec’s “intensive zone,” roughly the area south of Chibougamou, Que.