WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The province of Quebec in Canada has been facing a series of wildfires over the past few weeks, which have resulted in the evacuation of thousands of residents from their homes. However, the situation seems to be getting better as firefighters from across Canada and several other countries work hard to contain the fires.
Nicolas Vigneault, a spokesperson for the forest fire service SOPFEU, stated that the wildfire threatening the northwestern Quebec city of Normetal has been contained. This achievement is attributed to the arrival of firefighters from other provinces and countries, including France, soldiers, and recently-trained volunteers over the past week.
Vigneault mentioned in an interview on Sunday that all this help coming from other provinces and countries is greatly appreciated. It makes a significant difference in the field because they can attack the fires more aggressively. He added that there are now over 1,200 firefighters battling the woodland blazes across Quebec, with around 100 more expected to arrive from the United States on Tuesday.
Despite the progress made, Vigneault cautioned that the fight isn’t over yet, and a shift in winds or unfavorable weather could cause the situation to deteriorate. He also noted that while containing the fire is a crucial step toward bringing it under control, a wildfire can reignite if the environment is conducive. Therefore, firefighters must remain vigilant.
In a small town called Normetal, situated more than 600 kilometers northwest of Ottawa, wildfires were getting dangerously close to certain parts of the town with only 500 meters between them. While about 40 firefighters from New Brunswick took control, the situation was expected to get much worse. However, the firefighters’ hard work paid off as they managed to contain the blaze and stop it from progressing any further.
On the other hand, the Mayor of Chibougamau, Quebec, Manon Cyr, declared that the residents could finally return to their homes on Monday morning. As you may recall, the city, which is around 500 kilometers northwest of Quebec City, was evacuated last Tuesday evening due to the wildfires that had engulfed the area.
However, the mayor warned that the local hospital would only be providing basic services, grocery stores may not have been restocked, and there is still smoke in the air. “But what we can tell you is that you can recover your home, and that’s the good news,” she said in a video posted on the city’s Facebook page.
Quebec’s natural resources minister, Maite Blanchette Vezina, had earlier stated that no evacuation orders were being lifted in the “very short term.” But after Cyr’s announcement, Blanchette Vezina’s spokeswoman Flore Bouchon said in an interview that the situation in Chibougamau has improved. While the province agrees about the return, the municipality has the final say on the evacuation order.
Blanchette Vezina, addressing reporters in Quebec City, revealed that over a hundred and thirty-one fires continue to ravage the province. However, the number of unmanageable fires has decreased by 28 and now totals 44. “We are no longer just reacting to the situation, but taking an offensive approach,” she added.
One of the major fires that need immediate attention is situated near Lebel-sur-Quevillon, Quebec, approximately 280 kilometers east of Normetal. According to Vigneault, firefighters from the United States will proceed to the location. He relayed this information through a live video broadcast on the city’s Facebook page.
Vigneault also pointed out that Monday would be a challenging day for firefighters as there is no forecast of rain until Tuesday. “We must exercise caution and be very careful because there hasn’t been any rain for some time now,” he warned.
He added that at least 2.5 millimeters of rain are needed to have an impact on an active fire. “So we need quite a lot of rain to have an impact on the fires that are ongoing right now.”
To date, more than 10,000 square kilometers of forest have burned in Quebec this year due to wildfires. While the situation is improving, the firefighters must remain vigilant and ready to respond if there are any developments. The province of Quebec in Canada has been battling a series of wildfires over the past few weeks that have forced thousands of residents to evacuate their homes. However, the situation appears to be improving as firefighters from across Canada and several other nations work hard to contain the blazes.
According to Nicolas Vigneault, a spokesperson for the forest fire service SOPFEU, the wildfire threatening the northwestern Quebec city of Normetal has been contained. He attributed this achievement to the arrival of firefighters from other provinces and countries, including France, as well as soldiers and recently-trained volunteers over the past week.