Heat and no rain: Wildfires could lead to further evacuations

Citizens near the blazes raging in northern Quebec will have to prepare to evacuate their municipality during the week due to the upcoming heat and lack of rain.

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“According to all the models that are in effect, indeed, we are going to have a difficult week”, summarized Katia Petit, associate deputy minister and government coordinator for civil security, in a press briefing on Sunday morning.

Abitibi, Nord-du-Québec, Saguenay and Côte-Nord will be the sectors under close surveillance. The absence of heavy rain combined with significant heat could complicate the work of firefighters.

“Hot and dry are conditions that increase the risk of fire and dry out the vegetation,” he said. Log Kevin Cloutier, meteorologist at MétéoMédia. This is a bit of the recipe we are trying to avoid in the current context.

The fire that threatens the small town of Normetal was displayed by a large smoke in the sky, on June 5th.

Photo provided by Jonathan Fortin

1400 fighters

The Society for the Protection of Forests against Fire (SOPFEU) had 90 fires in the intensive zone on Sunday and 21 others in the northern zone. More than 1,400 fighters and 19 tanker planes are still at the front.

“The intensity of the lights in general can be reactivated, but in addition, we could experience situations where the lights could be active even at night, which is not the case at present,” said Sylvain. Tremblay, strategic advisor to the general management of SOPFEU.

“It is concerning for the fires that are contained,” he added.

Barely returned

Moreover, the approximately 2,000 residents of Lebel-sur-Quévillon who were finally preparing to return home after two weeks of evacuation have been warned that they could leave again in an emergency due to the progression of forest fires. .

The 344 blaze, which is located south of Lebel-sur-Quévillon and which has eaten away more than 378,000 hectares, has merged with five other fires.

“The integration notice is maintained, however, you should know that a new evacuation notice could occur at any time, said Mayor Guy Lafrenière in an update on Saturday evening. When you return to Lebel-sur-Quévillon, you must be ready to evacuate again.”

The flammability index “will increase over the next few days and will be at the extreme,” said Mr. Lafrenière.

“There is no immediate threat,” said Katia Petit.

on guard

In any case, the residents of Lebel-sur-Quévillon interviewed by The newspaper were filled with relief, seeing that their city was ardently defended by the firefighters. Nevertheless, their suitcases, barely dropped off, are already ready for a new start.

Kate Gosselin, whose health is weakened by various illnesses, has already made sure to have an emergency roof in Senneterre.

Forest fires June 11

Kate Gosselin lives in Lebel-sur-Quévillon and her health is weakened by various illnesses. She has already made sure to have an emergency roof in Senneterre.

Photo courtesy of Kate Gosselin

“With my lungs, I cannot take deep breaths, mentions the one who wishes to remain optimistic in the circumstances. Even in Sennetere, there were days when I had difficulty breathing.

“I know that my city will not burn tomorrow morning,” agrees Jacynthe Barrette, 59, who temporarily came home before returning to her sister in Val-d’Or. It’s “seeing a fire near our house like that, it doesn’t help me sleep peacefully.”

Forest fires June 11

Jacynthe Barrette is confident that Lebel-sur-Quévillon is safe. Still fearful of the proximity of the fire, she only made a brief return to the locality this weekend.

Photo provided by Jacynthe Barrette

The situation seems for the moment less critical than a fortnight ago, argues Daniel Moses, a lineman from Hydro-Québec.

“I’m confident it’s going to be fine,” said the 48-year-old. I had the opportunity to pass through the village a few times and I saw the work being done around the village to protect it against fire. It made me feel safe.”

Forest fires June 11

Thick smoke was visible one evening in early June, on the beach of Lac Quévillon in Lebel-sur-Quévillon.

Photo provided by Jacynthe Barrette

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