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Heat, no rain cause Quebec wildfires

July 16, 2012 at 7:44 AM

MONTREAL, July 16 (UPI) -- High temperatures and a lack of rain have meant an increase in forest fires sparked by human activity in Quebec, Canadian forest officials said.

Since March there have been about 460 forest fires in the province, about 79 percent of which were started by humans, The (Montreal) Gazette reported Monday.

"The normal is 70 percent by human activity and 30 percent by lightening," said Marie-Louise Harvey, spokeswoman for the Society of Protection of Forests Against Fire. "The early spring and the dry conditions have added to the risk of forest fires."

The record high for July 14 was broken in Dorval with a temperature of 91 degrees Saturday, Andre Cantin, an Environment Canada meteorologist said. He said he believes the temperatures were even higher in Montreal.

"I'm certain the thermometer hit 93 or even 95 degrees downtown," Cantin said. "That would mean about 104 or 107 degrees with the humidity index."

Relief from the heat should come Wednesday and Thursday with some expected rain, Environment Canada said.

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