MONTREAL — Fifty forest fires are burning in the province of Quebec, with nine of them out of control. Quebec officials have evacuated about 2,000 people from their homes. A total of 67,000 hectares of forested land in Quebec is affected. Alberta,
British Columbia and New Brunswick, as well as the U.S. states of Maine and New Hampshire, have sent fire crews and equipment to Quebec. Nearly 1,200 firefighters are battling the flames across the province. Fourteen water bombers and 50 helicopters are assisting fire crews on the ground.
Air quality in the Ottawa area continued to measure at “very poor” levels at noon today because of the heavy haze of smoke over the city coming from forest fires burning in central Quebec, according to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Downtown Ottawa had an index of 103, while central Ottawa was at 106, down from 115 and 122 measured an hour earlier.
Today’s air quality index is more than double the historical records dating back to 2007, when then the ministry began archiving air quality information for the region. The previous record-high AQI was 54 in downtown Ottawa in May 2007, according to the ministry’s website. Cornwall is also experiencing very poor air quality, at 11 AM the index was 99, then at noon the AQI had dropped down to 64.
The U.S. National Weather Service said smoke from the Quebec fires had spread across much of Maine, New Hampshire and as far away as Boston and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.