Keeping your home or cottage safe from fire is, of course, a priority. Below you will find plenty of information and advice to help you mitigate the risks of fire destroying your property or spreading from your home to the forest.
However, we invite you to consult your municipality. Your municipality may have stricter regulations that will take precedence over the MFFP regulations.
Here is what is and what is not allowed in the case of a ban on open fires.
The following are not considered to be an open fire: Propane or ethanol fireplaces. These facilities may be used in the event of a ban.
Fires burning in facilities intended for this purpose and equipped with spark arrestor screens, such as stoves, fireplaces, and metal containers, are not considered to be open-air fires. In order to comply with prevailing standards, spark arrestor openings must be no wider than 1 centimetre.
The SOPFEU fire danger rating is a good guideline to follow! The appropriate behaviour to adopt for each level of fire danger is laid out below.
The SOPFEU and the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs do not systematically issue a ban on open fires when the fire danger is extreme. However, an extreme danger rating indicates a strong probability that a fire burning under these conditions would ignite, spread rapidly, and become uncontrollable.
Such conditions call for greater prudence and vigilance. In this case, campfires, discarded cigarette butts, fireworks, and off-trail ATVs are a hazard in forest areas.
Regarding forest protection, the Law on Sustainable Forest Management and its regulations apply in or in the vicinity of the forest.
(Particularly in the case of an open fire ban or in the issuing of burning permits.)
The law and regulations do not clearly define it. Proximity to the forest can be relative, so there is no strict definition. However, it can be said that you are in proximity to the forest if there is a possibility that your fire will reach the forest should you lose control of it. Whether it is through the spreading of firebrands or through the ignition of ground fuels (brush, grass, etc.), if there is a risk that your fire could reach the forest you are considered to be in the vicinity of it.
However, be aware that the risk of spread is linked to several elements such as weather conditions, time of day and type of fuel. For example, the windier it is the greater the risk.
In the spring, you must be particularly vigilant. Surface fuel, such as dry grass, twigs or moss, ignites easily and can spread a fire to the surrounding forest. You may be closer to the forest than you think and therefore it’s not a question of distance, but of risk.
If you are in doubt, it is probably because you are too close to the forest.
A fire in an urban area, a fire in an open area, or a fire in the middle of a field far away from a forest are examples of open fires where the restrictions would not apply.
In municipal territory, municipal by-laws must also be considered, which may be more restrictive than those proposed by the SOPFEU and enforced by the MFFP.
Every year, SOPFEU and municipal firefighters respond to numerous fires caused by out of control burning. Before proceeding to burn dead vegetation such as grass, leaves, and branches, consider the following alternatives:
•Green bin leaf and yard waste recycling
•Taking your yard waste to an ecocentre