Mayor Manon Cyr made the announcement during a press briefing posted on Facebook.
Chibougamau Mayor Manon Cyr issued an evacuation notice total due to wildfires rapidly approaching the city. This is also the case of the Cree community of Oujé-Bougoumou.
She indicated in a press briefing on Facebook, around 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, that citizens can go to the Roberval arena, where facilities will be set up.
You are asked to leave with the minimum, said the mayor. I understand that there are people who may want to bring their animals, but you are asked to please focus on your spouses and children. And we leave quietly in order.
The evacuation notice was also sent by Urgence Québec.
Chibougamau has approximately 7,300 citizens and Roberval around 10,000.
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Manon Cyr also asks her citizens to put a sheet in a window or on the door of their home with the number of people living there when they have evacuated. This measure must indicate to the agents of the Sûreté du Québec if the citizens have indeed left their house.
The fires that threaten the city are located to the north, near Mistissini. According to Manon Cyr, the blazes would have advanced faster than expected due to the winds.
According to the Society for the Protection of Forests against Fire (SOPFEU), two fires in this sector have areas of 50,000 and 12,500 hectares.
The City of Chibougamau had announced earlier in the day that protective trenches would be put in place around its territory to protect it from forest fires.
About 700 beds will be installed at the Center Benoît-Lévesque in Roberval, confirmed Julie Drolet, communications advisor to the municipality located on the shores of Lac Saint-Jean.
We had already been aware since this afternoon that there was a possibility, so we had already monopolized the emergency measures plan team. So we are currently at the arena. We plan beds, we are in contact with the pharmacy if necessary. We are currently expecting 700 people, but here I would tell you that people, they had the request to leave the city, then to go to Roberval if necessary, but many will go to family, to friends where they have their motorized vehicle. We don't know yet the exact number of people we're going to have, she said around 10:30 p.m.
Julie Drolet could not say when the first people would arrive, since traffic is difficult to get out of Chibougamau. This is also shown by posts on social networks, as well as real-time traffic apps.
There are about 250 km between the two municipalities.< /p>
In the Cree community of Oujé-Bougoumou, located about fifteen kilometers north of Chapais, the complete evacuation was announced by Chief Curtis Bosum around 7:30 p.m.< /p>
To the members of the Cree Nation of Oujé-Bougoumou, I announce a complete mandatory evacuation, he wrote on his Facebook page.
He urged people to go to the Cégep de Chicoutimi, about 400 km from the community.
Keep calm and drive carefully. God bless you, he continued to his members.
In 2022, the population of Oujé-Bougoumou was estimated at just under 800 people.
Earlier in the evening, a press release reported an evacuation for vulnerable people, a bit like what happened the day before in the Atikamekw community of Opitciwan, in Haute-Mauricie. These people were brought to a hotel in Roberval on Monday evening.
As for Chapais, about thirty kilometers to the west, a pre-evacuation alert was issued. published around 8:30 p.m.
This was indicated earlier in the evening by the mayor of Chapais, Isabelle Lessard.
Chapais Mayor Isabelle Lessard held a press briefing Thursday at 6 p.m.
In Chapais, since we are further away, the fire is still a good distance away. We're talking about at least 40 km-48 km, so it's not worrying for us, for tonight, unless it gets out of hand; that, we cannot predict. Fires are very unpredictable, unfortunately. So for now, we are still under control. On the other hand, tonight, what we are going to do is issue a pre-evacuation notice so that people can start preparing, because tomorrow, it is going to be a high probability that people will have to leave the city, explained the mayor of Chapais, Isabelle Lessard.
Last week, the southern half of the municipality was evacuated for three nights.
The Ministère des Transports et de la Mobilité durable (MTMD) announced around 9 p.m. that the road linking the Chibougamau-Chapais sector to Lac-Saint-Jean was closed northbound.
This closure is required due to an evacuation order for communities north of this strategic link. Route 167, heading south, remains open to allow the evacuation of the population concerned to Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, wrote Nathalie Girard, communications advisor for the MTMD in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean.