Smog blankets southern Quebec as wildfire smoke blows in from Ontario

Click to play video: 'Wildfire haze settles over Montreal' Wildfire haze settles over Montreal
WATCH: Wildfires burning in Northern Ontario are having an impact in Southwestern Quebec. A thick, smoggy haze has settled in over the Montreal area, prompting smog and air quality warnings. Global's Gloria Henriquez has more. – Jul 20, 2021

It’s hazy out there in Montreal and other parts of Quebec once again Tuesday due to smoke billowing in from wildfires in northwestern Ontario.

Environment Canada issued a smog warning for a large swath of the province, including the Quebec City, Laurentians, Eastern Townships and Gatineau areas.

“High concentrations of fine particulates are expected and will result in poor air quality,” the public weather agency said.

Read more: Ontario issues emergency order to help deal with northern wildfires

Children with asthma and people with respiratory issues or heart disease are encouraged to avoid “intense physical activity outdoors” until the warning is called off.

The blanket of smog has clouded the sky since Monday in Montreal, prompting people to take to social media with photos of a strange sun.

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Others showed how the smog reduced visibility in Montreal.

Environment Canada says the situation should improve throughout the day in affected areas in Quebec and eastern Ontario.

Preventing forest fires

Meanwhile, SOPFEU a non-profit organization dedicated to forest fire protection, says that there have been 436 fires to date this season in Quebec — which is higher than average.

“We had a busy spring, busy beginning of summer, but for the last three weeks, things have been quite dropping off,” said Mélanie Morin, SOPFEU spokesperson.

“Very different to what our western provinces are experiencing.”

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And while the risk of forest fires remains low to moderate in most of the province, Morin said there are things people can do to reduce the danger.

“Every year we have campfires that get away from people,” she said, adding it’s important to never lever a campfire unattended.

Furthermore, a campfire needs to be properly extinguished.

“We have to make sure they’re completely out and not just a bit of water but make sure they’re cool to the touch,” Morin said.

Other popular activities that can pose a threat include setting off fireworks and using all terrain vehicles (ATV).

Morin recommended using fireworks in an area that would not pose a threat to a forest.

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As for ATVs the exhaust system can heat up and cause grasses or other dry vegetation to ignite.

SOPFEU says it’s best to remain on the trails at all time. In the event of off-roading, Morin said it’s important to ensure all the compartments and under-carriage are clean.

Using a spark arrestor inside the tailpipe is also a good way to prevent possible sparks that could land on dry vegetation.

With files from Gloria Henriquez and The Canadian Press

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