Crews battle forest fire in Quebec’s Oka National Park

Firefighters were deployed to Quebec’s Oka National Park to battle a forest fire Saturday evening.

The fire is believed to have started on the Oka Calvary, a popular hiking spot about 60 kilometres west of Montreal, Noovo Info reported.

The Saint-Joseph-du-Lac fire department wrote on its Facebook page that it started tackling the fire at around 8 p.m. and was assisting Pointe-Calumet firefighters.

A passerby wrote in a post on Facebook that he spotted the fire while walking through the park and then called 911.

Xavier Renolt said he was walking near the north side of the Calvary when he first noticed some smoke in the air. He said he stomped on some small flames but kept walking and noticed more fires.

“I continue on and see a long line of fire, slowly progressing. I give up now, thinking it’s time to call the fire department,” he wrote.

Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillon told CTV News that the fire was brought under control at around 1 a.m. Sunday. 

The national park reopened to hikers on Sunday as authorities were still onsite to monitor the situation

Quebec’s forest fire prevention agency, the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU), said a small team was also deployed to the area to monitor the fire, which was about 2 hectares.

According to SOPFEU, parts of western and southern Quebec are currently at a “high” risk of a forest fire, including the Greater Montreal Area, Centre-du-Québec, the Laurentians and the Outaouais. So far, there have been three wildfires in Quebec this year.

The forest fire season typically starts around early April, but SOPFEU had warned it could begin earlier this year as the province has received less snowfall than usual during the winter, making for drier and more fire-prone conditions.

Last year marked the worst forest fire season in Quebec history, with more than 700 fires — most of which were caused by lightning strikes — that burned 4.5 million hectares.

With files from Noovo Info 

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