Quebec set to avoid flooding this year, while forest fire conditions are concerning

All indications point to Quebec being spared from flooding this spring, despite the heavy snow cover that is still present in many areas.

However, weather conditions are a cause for concern in terms of forest fires.

The absence of prolonged heavy rains and cool nights in recent weeks has allowed southern Quebec to avoid major flooding.

As for the eastern part of the province, where snow cover remains heavy, civil security authorities explained in an email to The Canadian Press that "snowmelt alone will have a limited impact in terms of flooding. To have a significant impact, a lot of rain would have to be added."

Environment Canada says no significant precipitation is expected in the short term, other than light showers on Tuesday. After that, warm, dry weather is expected for the rest of the week. Despite the possibility of a little rain next weekend, there is no forecast for significant amounts for all of Quebec.

This means that there is little to fear, even in the regions that civil security has placed "under surveillance due to heavy snow cover."

The regions in question are the Mauricie (for the Saint-Maurice River), the Capitale-Nationale (for the rivers that originate in the Laurentian Wildlife Reserve and in Charlevoix), the Saguenay, the North Shore and the Gaspé.

So far, civil security is reporting only three minor floods across Quebec, at Lake Maskinongé, Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon in Lanaudière, Croche River at the Mauricie and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean borders, and Harricana River near Amos in Abitibi.

Last year, southern Quebec was hit by a major drought in late spring, following two consecutive years of major flooding in 2019 and 2020.

However, if this situation is reassuring regarding floods, it is quite different for forest fires.

The Ministry of Forest, Parks and Wildlife issued a ban on open fires in or near forests in the regions of Montreal, Laval, Montérégie, Estrie, Mauricie, Chaudière-Appalaches, Laurentides, Outaouais, Lanaudière, Centre-du-Québec, Capitale-Nationale, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

Two forest fires are active; one eight-hectare blaze is burning in the Antoine-Labelle MRC in the Laurentians, and one of a little less than one hectare in the Matawinie MRC in the Laurentians. Both fires are under control.

Since the beginning of the season, SOPFEU has reported 69 forest fires that have affected 73.5 hectares, compared to the ten-year average of 81 fires for an area of 58.8 hectares.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 7, 2022. 

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