Hiring blitz at Quebec’s fire protection agency as fears over early and intense wildfire season grow

By Pierre-Alexandre Bolduc
CBC News
April 10, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

The images of millions of hectares of burned forest, thousands of people being evacuated and the smoke from Quebec fires reaching as far south as New York City brings back bad memories for Quebec’s forest fire prevention agency and communities across Quebec. “We’re going to be worried all summer,” says Guy Lafrenière, mayor of Lebel-sur-Quévillon, Que., a town located 800 kilometres north of Montreal. Lafrenière says he’s hoping for a rainy summer but fears a repeat of last year’s hot, dry weather, which forced his residents to evacuate twice. The Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU) is hoping to expand its ranks this year to be better prepared across Quebec by hiring 160 people including 80 firefighters in the next two years — increasing its staff by 32 per cent. A permanent SOPFEU base of operations with 14 firefighters will also be set up over the next few weeks in Lebel-sur-Quévillon.

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