The mayor of Chibougamau, Manon Cyr, warns her population that there is a risk of smoke in the air at their feedback.
Chibougamau Mayor Manon Cyr says half of the citizens returned to the municipality between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday. The reintegration plan, which provides for the return of 7,500 citizens, is proceeding as planned.
She estimates that about 3,000 people returned to Chibougamau on the first day after the forest fire forced evacuation notice was lifted. It went really well, everyone was at the station, everyone moved with caution, said Manon Cyr during a press briefing. We remind you of the importance of traveling with caution on the roads tomorrow because another busy day is expected on the 167.
Manon Cyr is also appealing to her population, but also to tourists who would like to go to the forest to go hiking, or even go fishing. She says the City receives calls to find out if it is possible to go into the forest in her area.
“It seems to me that it doesn't take a master's degree in forest fires to understand that it's not the time to come fishing”
— Manon Cyr, Mayor of Chibougamau
The partial lifting of the ban on access to State lands announced by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests does not affect Nord-du-Québec.
To ensure that the return home goes well, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) has put in place a road safety plan. In the morning, vehicles were trickling in via a convoy of police vehicles.
Since Monday at 8 a.m., Route 167 has been reopened to traffic.
The SQ indicates that it wants above all to ensure that the highway safety code is respected.
The return of the inhabitants of Chibougamau returned home under police escort.
That's why we're still in place. This is to avoid reckless actions by drivers. […] We don't want speeding, we don't want people going into the back. We want everyone to be able to get home safely, said SQ spokesperson Hugues Beaulieu.
Subsequently, the SQ will try to ensure that the reintegration of the residents has been free of criminal offences, including breaking and entering.
As for the Maxi, the supply supermarket should return to normal within the next two days. The grocery store can count on the help of six employees from Saguenay to help with the recovery.
Luc Castonguay, director of Maxi de Chibougamau, explains that reinforcements from Saguenay are on site. These resources are on duty until Chibougamau employees return home.
However, the market suffered losses of meat and some vegetables due to the massive evacuation .
When we left the store, we still located the products that we could put in the refrigerator, then we did not have a power outage during the evacuation, so that helps a lot, a assured Luc Castonguay, director of Maxi de Chibougamau.
While the City of Chibougamau and the community of Oujé-Bougoumou evacuated their residents last Tuesday, the City of Saguenay made available to them certain infrastructures to house them, including the Cégep de Chicoutimi and the arena of the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. The Center Georges-Vézina had been prepared, but was ultimately not used.
After the announcement of the reopening of the Oujé-Bougoumou community, a four-phase demobilization plan was notably unveiled by Saguenay. On Sunday, essential workers in the Cree community were asked to prepare for the return of their members.
Red Cross volunteers chat at a table at the Cégep de Chicoutimi residential center.
Monday, Saguenay, in collaboration with Indigenous Service Canada, announced that people independent and in good health could return to their homes. The City expects 200 people to leave by the end of the day.
On Tuesday it will be the turn of families with children aged five and under and people with medical conditions to return home. Nearly 200 other people will be able to return.
Finally, according to a doctor's recommendation, the most vulnerable people may have to wait longer before returning home, until that the air quality is deemed acceptable.
Over the next few days, Saguenay will report on the financial results of the operation.
With information from Annie-Claude Brisson and Jean-François Coulombe