More than 1,000 soldiers and firefighters shoulder to shoulder to fight forest fires in Quebec

About 100 soldiers and 200 firefighters will be added as reinforcements to contain the forest fires that are raging in Quebec. A total of 1,000 people will be deployed on the North Shore and in Abitibi. Rain should also come to their aid soon.

About 100 soldiers from the Canadian Armed Forces arrived in Sept-Îles on Sunday for a day of forest firefighting training. From this evening, or Monday morning, they will join the hundred soldiers already deployed to contain the two blazes of 350 km2 raging around Sept-Îles.

The army was called in as reinforcements, as firefighters from other provinces have already had their hands full with fires in their home province. “It is all of Canada that is suffering from all this,” said the Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel, in a press briefing on Sunday morning, noting the rare nature of this request.

The number of active wildfires has increased from 138 to 141 in the past few hours. Firefighters and soldiers are only concentrating on 35 of them, for lack of means.

Quebec must turn to other countries, including the United States, Chile, Portugal and France for help. More than 300 firefighters from abroad have been asked to fight the fires on the North Shore, but also in Abitibi. Their assistance has not been confirmed. Some 475 SOPFEU firefighters are already working hard to contain the flames.

“For the moment”, there is “no concern” in the near future of a fire that could reach a municipality like Val-d’Or, according to Minister Bonnardel.

Nevertheless, the City of Val-d’Or announced on Saturday evening the emergency evacuation of several sectors. A state of emergency has been declared and evacuations are mandatory there, like the suburbs of Sept-Îles a few days ago.

Quebec has extended the ban on going to the forest. Not only the Côte-Nord and Abitibi are targeted by this drastic measure, but also the entire territory of Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, the north of Lanaudière and the Laurentians as well as part of the Outaouais and the Mauricie. “It is important at this time not to go into the forest throughout Quebec,” urged the Minister of Natural Resources and Forests, Maite Blanchette Vezina.

A helping hand from mother nature is expected at the beginning of the week on the North Shore. Three days of rain are expected from next Tuesday. However, the dry weather should continue in Abitibi.

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