Forest fires: a week of fighting to protect Normétal and Lebel-sur-Quévillon | Wildfires 2023

Forest fires: a week of fighting to protect Normétal and Lebel-sur-Quévillon | Wildfires 2023

Forest fires: a week of fighting to protect Normétal and Lebel-sur-Quévillon | Forest fires 2023

The fires that started on June 1 still threaten Abitibi-Ouest and Nord-du-Québec. Reinforcements from New Brunswick are on the road.

Many firefighters from all over Abitibi-Ouest are taking part in the operation to save the village of Normetal.

The forest fires in Abitibi and Nord-du -Québec have been burning for a week and gaining ground.

Experts, elected officials and citizens are closely monitoring the state of the fires. Some wake up from a 6th night in welcoming places where mutual help and concern reign.

The priority is always the protection of human lives and infrastructures, recalls Cathy Elliott Morneau, spokesperson for the Society for the Protection of Forests against Fire (SOPFEU).

The SOPFEU firefighters are trying to deflect the fire which is 500 meters from Normétal.

Personnel fighting forest fires in Abitibi-Ouest created this trench in hopes of stemming the advance of a fire and saving a power line.

Firefighters municipal authorities have the mission of watering the outskirts of the village.

I can tell you that we are not going to walk around there with sneakers. We get our feet wet. It's so wet around the village and that's what we wanted, describes Doris Nolet, director of the Normétal fire department.

“It's the calm before the storm because we know that the fire picks up a lot in the morning and in the afternoon. »

— Normand Lagrange, Director General of the MRC d'Abitibi-Ouest

The Director General of the MRC d'Abitibi-Ouest reminds us that a lookout is in place 24 hours a day. The firefighters of Dupuy, Sainte-Hélène as well as those of La Sarre replaced the firefighters of Normétal during the night to allow them to go to rest, underlines Normand Lagrange.

He adds that volunteers are preparing to welcome the reinforcements from New Brunswick which are to arrive in Abitibi today. Now is the time to get outside help. It is expected, adds Normand Lagrange.

This week, a group of 25 volunteers from Pikogan and Lac-Simon received training in the Laurentians to lend a hand to SOPFEU.

The landscape is calm where this tanker plane fills up with water before heading back towards the forest fires.< /p>

The few drops of rain received Wednesday evening in Abitibi-Ouest were not enough to give firefighters respite. The fires are so intense that it will take a few days of rain for the relative humidity to increase, laments Cathy Elliott Morneau.

The mutual aid is such that the population is ready to donate clothes, food, take care of pets and farm animals and undergo training to support forest firefighters.

Farmers in Abitibi-Témiscamingue provide transport and accommodation for animals on farms suffering the repercussions of forest fires.

Air tanker pilots are called upon in the fight against fires in Quebec and in the West of the country. Some, however, fear a shortage of personnel.

More than 400 kilometers from Normétal, firefighters from Grand-Remous come to the aid of SOPFEU in the La Vérendrye wildlife reserve.

Route 117 in the wildlife reserve is under surveillance. The Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility is asking motorists to review their journeys.

Wednesday evening, smoke in the area reduced visibility. Animals can also be found on the road network.

These firefighters of Grand-Remous were motivated at work on Wednesday.

The two forest fires under close surveillance merged near Lebel-sur-Quévillon. The facilities are not threatened for the moment, according to SOPFEU. The municipality has about 2000 inhabitants. They were ordered to evacuate last Friday.

The approximately 5,500 people in Chibougamau will have to wait at least until Saturday before returning to their homes.

The refugees are closely monitoring the situation of the forest fires near their municipality and in the surrounding area.

I was a little expecting that we would leave for a few days, testifies Stéphane McKenzie of Chibougamau. He found refuge with his family in Lac-Bouchette, in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. We stay inside and we close the doors, he added to the show Des matins en or.

The sky over Senneterre was orange as the smoke was thick in the afternoon of June 6.

In Chapais, it was recommended that people with health problems leave the municipality temporarily.

Bell and Télébec infrastructures were affected by the forest fires. Communities in Nord-du-Québec have observed a slowdown or cuts in the Internet network and residential telephony. Bell claims to have restored services.

Concentrations of fine particles escaping from forest fires have the effect of degrading air quality.

< p class="e-p">Widespread smoke is spreading across the territory, even in municipalities located several kilometers from the forest fires. Environment Canada's smog warning is still in effect.

Dr. Claudel Pétrin-Desrosiers, family doctor and president of the Quebec Association of Physicians for the Environment, reminds us that people at risk could have more difficulty breathing.

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Dr. Claudel Pétrin-Desrosiers suggests reducing pollution from other sources in industries and recommends that people use public transit when possible.

Being evacuated quickly from home is something that is not easy. It comes with significant stress. I think we have to show some form of empathy towards these people. Afterwards, we must globally, as a population in Quebec, we must remember our role to play in the fight against climate change. We are behind on our plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at source , she noted on the show It's worth the return.

In La Reine, in Abitibi-Ouest, the Municipality has invited its citizens to leave, as a preventive measure.

It is recommended to avoid activities outside outside and to close the windows when the air quality is poor.