With the long weekend upon us, many residents may be tempted to end the night with a bonfire surrounded by family and friends. At this time, the region remains under a Restricted Fire Zone which bans most forms of burn.

"As we move into the long weekend, the Restricted Fire Zone in the region remains in place. That means outdoor fires are prohibited, but things like gas stoves and barbecues are still allowed," said Fire Information Officer, Chris Marchand.

In most cases, this includes grass, debris, and campfires, even when using an outdoor fire grate, fireplace or fire pit. Portable gas stoves may still be used BUT must be handled with extreme care as Marchand indicated.

It is a temporary measure put in place to prevent human-caused fires when the fire hazard is extreme or when firefighting resources are limited.

Fireworks are not specifically prohibited by the Forest Fire Prevention Act during a Restricted Fire Zone, but Marchand warns that you should think about the potential consequences of using fireworks.

"It is very important to remember that you are responsible for the fires that you light, and if you use fireworks, you need to ensure that the firework and the residue that attended to the firework is also extinguished. If a fire is found to be caused by fireworks that you've set off. You can be held responsible for the cost of extinguishing that fire," stressed Marchand.

In some cases, municipalities have implemented a burning ban, which restricts the use of fireworks, in addition to the Restricted Fire Zone.

The region is currently experiencing one of the worst fire seasons in recent memory. As of yesterday, over 976 fires have been discovered so far this year with over 500,000 hectares burned. In 2020, there were 474 discovered throughout the season and the ten-year average is 555 fires discovered per year.