Wildfires in Québec, Canada have been spreading across the province over the past several days, and have grown to encompass over 65,000 hectares of forest. The fires, which have forced 2400 people to leave their homes, are being battled by a joint effort of over 1000 firefighters from all over Canada, Maine and New Hampshire. The excessive smoke has caused adverse effects to air quality in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts.
Fires are not unusual at this time of year for Quebec, according to fire information officer Melanie Morin, but this year fires have spread easily due to unusually warm and windy conditions. Officials believe many of the fires were started by lightning.
The Canadian newspaper ‘Times Colonist’ reported on Wednesday, June 2:
“Rainy weather and diminished winds have helped fight the forest fires that have been raging in Quebec for almost a week. Yesterday afternoon 40 fires were burning in the La Tuque area — down from 45 on Monday — five of those out of control.”
Although rainfall from some stormy weather moving through the region could continue to aid firefighters efforts, there is some concern that thunderstorms could spark lightning that could potentially ignite more fires away from the fires center of activity.