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Prevention When camping

Bonfires are a potential hazard in forests. Consult the SOPFEU recommendations before starting a fire; they include choosing the site to ensuring there are no hot spots left.

Open Fires Ban – Fireplaces with spark arrestors permitted
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 and they are allowed even when open fires are prohibited. In order to comply with prevailing standards, spark arrestor openings must be no wider than 1 centimetre. 

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.

* Outdoor propane or ethanol fireplaces are not targeted by the open fire ban because they do not produce sparks.

What are the steps to follow in order to safely make a fire?

Campfires are the cause of numerous forest fires every year. Follow these steps to fully and safely enjoy your fire.

  1. PERPARE an open area on mineral soil, away from any combustible material (leaves, grass and so on).
  2. BUILD a fire no larger than 1 metre by 1 metre in size.
  3. KEEP AN EYE on the fire and have water at hand at all times.
  4. PUT OUT the fire by dousing the site thoroughly and stirring the embers.
  5. ENSURE that embers are cold to the touch.

Keep in mind! A fire will not go out on its own. Hot embers can be reignited by the wind.
Tips from the pros! Do not hesitate to touch the ashes to make sure that the fire is out. If you are unsure, pour more water on the fire!
What is an “open-air fire”?
Any fire burning freely or that can freely spread. Examples of open-air fires are fireworks and flame and spark producing tools (such as welding tools).

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. 

Here is what is and what is not allowed in the case of a ban on open fires.

Please note! Fires that are set on a dirt or gravel floor AND in a firebox equipped with a spark arrester (with maximum openings of 1 cm by 1 cm) are permitted.
However, we invite you to consult your municipality. Your municipality may have stricter regulations that will take precedence over the MFFP regulations.
* Outdoor propane or ethanol fireplaces are not targeted by the open fire ban because they do not produce sparks.

 

Are fires banned when fire danger rating is extreme?

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.

Keep in mind! A number of municipalities and campsites ban fires when the fire danger is high. Be sure to consult the applicable regulations before making a fire.
Tips from the pros! Download the SOPFEU mobile app (available for iOS and Android) to get automatic alerts when the fire danger rating in your area exceeds “high.”
What does “proximity to the forest” mean?

Regarding forest protection, the Law on Sustainable Forest Management and its regulations apply in or in the vicinity of the forest.

But what does the expression “in the vicinity of the forest” or “proximity to the forest” mean?

(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.