Crews from 4 provinces battling to control dozens of blazes
Montreal More than 130 firefighters from as far west as Saskatchewan and as far east as New Brunswick are helping their northern Quebec counterparts gain control of more than five dozen forest fires ravaging the province.
Ontario has sent 65 fire fighters and Saskatchewan, and Manitoba and New Brunswick have sent 22 each, said Gerard Lacasse, an information officer from Quebec’s forest protection agency.
Mr. Lacasse said it is unusual at this time of year to be battling so many fires.
“It’s a bit heavy right now,” he said.
The forest protection agency reports about 20 of the fires are considered out of control. Almost all are thought to have been started by lightning strikes.
One of the more serious fires near Chibougamau in the north-central region of the province was brought under control on Saturday.
The blaze forced close to 200 people from their homes after it came within 500 meters of the community. They were told by officials they would be able to return home Saturday night after winds shifted and began to push the fire away from the town.
It was being contained within an area of 11 square kilometres.
More than 60 firefighters, along with helicopters and water bombers, were working to keep that fire under control.
Authorities evacuated about 80 homes, with many residents taking refuge in the local high school.
“The fire has been contained, and we hope it will stay like that during the whole day, but we never know if the conditions will change,” said Charlotte Leger, also an information officer with the province’s forest protection agency.
She said a sudden change in wind direction could intensify the situation.
Quebec provincial police have dispatched several officers to ensure public safety.
Chibougamau is about 420 kilometres north of Quebec City.
Forest fire forces evacuations in Quebec town(published by www.ctv.ca, 4 June2005)
Firefighters are now in control of a forest fire that forced the evacuation of nearly 200 people from their homes in north-central Quebec.
Waterbombers were seen flying over the region as crews worked to tackle the flames and smoke seen billowing a few hundred meters from the edge of Chibougamau — about 420 kilometres north of Quebec City.
About 80 homes were evacuated, with residents being sheltered at a local school.
Fire crews say, however, that they still fear a change in wind direction could threaten more homes and prompt further evacuations.
Hospitals and emergency crews are on stand-by in the region which is home to close to 40,000 people.
There are currently around 70 forest fires burning in Quebec that cover more than 100,000 hectares — most of them sparked by lighting.
A forest fire in north-central Quebec is now under control. The fire had forced close to 200 people from their homes. It came within 500 metres of the mining town of Chibougamau. There are 63 forest fires burning in northern Quebec, about 20 of them out of control. Quebec firefighters are being helped by their counterparts from as far west as Saskatchewan and as far east as New Brunswick.
Winds Push Forest Fire Away from Quebec Town (publishedby www.cfra.com, 4 June 2005)
A forest fire that is burning dangerously close to a town in northern Quebec appears to be under control.
About 50 people in the community of Chibougamau, Quebec were ordered from their homes Saturday as crews worked to contain the blaze.
Forestry officials say the wind helped push the flames away from the mining community. No injuries have been reported.
Crews from Ontario and New Brunswick have been called into the area to help control the situation.