Forest fires: stable situation at Churchill Falls, efforts continue | Forest fires in Canada

Efforts to contain the fire threatening Churchill Falls continue Monday.

An intervention plan for the Churchill Falls power station is ready, in the event that the situation deteriorates and it is necessary to evacuate employees still on site, authorities indicated during a press briefing on Sunday afternoon.

The Prime Minister Andrew Furey provided an update of the situation to Churchill Falls.

He said he spoke with many evacuees. Several of them told him they felt anxiety, but also recognized that the authorities are doing their best in these difficult circumstances.

The two blazes gained intensity on Sunday

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The two air tankers deployed to Churhill Falls by SOPFEU were recalled to Quebec on Sunday.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Patrick Butler

Although the fire fortunately remains on the south bank of the river Churchillwe can only be sure of very few things for the future, maintains Andrew Furey.

No matter what we predict today, the only thing that would be right is that we are probably wronghe said during the press briefing.

According to the Prime Minister, there remain around 100 evacuees Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the others having traveled elsewhere in the province, most thanks to charter flights organized by Hydro NL.

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Premier Andrew Furey met with forestry officials in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on June 23 to provide an update on the fires raging near Churchill Falls.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Héloïse Rodriguez

A spokesperson for Hydro Newfoundland and Labrador indicated that an intervention plan is ready for the power station. Churchill Falls if the situation deteriorates.

A firewall will also be installed. It will be 60 meters wide and 8 to 10 kilometers long. It will take several days before it is completed. The dam can be monitored remotely if the small team still stationed at the power station needs to be evacuated.

Additionally, industrial sprinkler systems were also installed to deal with the lack of rain.

One of two fires near Churchill Falls is under control

The forest fire that has been raging since Wednesday 17 km west of Churchill Falls has been brought under control, according to the Newfoundland and Labrador Fire Department.

Our operations team is prepared to declare the fire currently under control, meaning they believe we have sufficient resources to control the fire. It was a victory for us yesterdayMark said. Lawlorthe Newfoundland and Labrador wildfire management officer, Sunday morning.

For two days, this fire along the Trans-Labrador Highway has covered an area of ​​1816 hectares.

The most threatening fire, located 7 km southwest of Churchill Falls, is still not under control. On Friday, firefighters managed to slow the progression of this 1,556 hectare blaze.

The fire was contained within its perimeterMark reiterated Lawlor, Sunday. It must be said that it has grown a little.

The fire is not yet under control, so it is possible that it will get bigger and start again.

A quote from Mark Lawlor, NL wildfire management officer

The good news, he continues, is that the fire did not cross the Churchill River and that it moved slightly south, in the opposite direction of the municipality and the power station, confirmed authorities late Sunday afternoon.

Churchill Falls”,”text”:”He was stopped from heading towards Churchill Falls”}}”>He was prevented from heading towards Churchill Fallsexplains Mark Lawlor.

A granite tunnel housing the 11 transformers.

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The Churchill Fall power station provides 15% of the electricity consumed in Quebec and almost a quarter of the electricity used in Newfoundland and Labrador. A small team remained on site to operate it. (Archive photo)

Photo: Radio-Canada / Patrick Butler

Reinforcements from Saskatchewan

Air tankers and helicopters rushed to the scene on Saturday, and the fight against the flames continued on Monday.

Weather conditions in the coming days will be similar to those of Saturday, adds Mr. Lawlor. Dry weather and rather strong winds are expected.

According to Mark Lawlor, the two tanker planes sent by Quebec as reinforcements to fight the fires in Labrador were repatriated this morning to tackle the fires on the North Shore.

It is not a good thinghe worries.

A spokesperson for the Forest Fire Protection Society confirmed that it tankers and the air-sighting aircraft which were loaned to Newfoundland and Labrador last Thursday.”,”text”:”has decided to repatriate the two air-tankers and the air-sighting aircraft which were loaned to Newfoundland and Labrador last Thursday.”}}”>has decided to repatriate the two air tankers and the air-sighting aircraft that were loaned to Newfoundland and Labrador last Thursday.

The planes completed their last mission in Labrador on Saturday 22, these aircraft will re-enter our suppression operations this afternoon, Sunday 23. They are available for watering missions for the fires currently raging on the North Shore of Quebec.

However, two water bombers and a plane from Saskatchewan are en route and are expected to arrive at noon Monday.

Status quo for evacuees

There are approximately 750 residents and subcontractors who work at Churchill Falls to have been evacuated towards Happy Valley-Goose Bay since Wednesday.

Churchill Falls, unfortunately we again have no estimate of how long it will be before they can return home”,”text”:”For the residents of Churchill Falls, unfortunately we still have no estimate times no estimate of how long it will be before they can return home”}}”>For residents of Churchill Fallsunfortunately we again have no estimate of how long it will be before they can return homeMark said. Lawlor, Sunday morning.

Hydro Newfoundland and Labrador remains very proactive in informing evacuated citizens (New window) of the progress of the situation, says Mark Lawlor.

Assistance is offered to employees so that they can travel to their loved ones elsewhere in the province.

Several people in a conference room.

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Saturday, Hydro NL. convened evacuated citizens in Happy Valley-Gosse Bay in order to fully understand what their needs will be over the coming days. (Archive photo)

Photo: Radio-Canada

As of Sunday, nine wildfires were active in Labrador and eight of them were not yet under control, according to the province.

As the first weekend of summer is officially underway, Mark Lawlor is cautiously optimistic about the 2024 fire season.

Fortunately, we now have sufficient resources to deal with the situation.he said. But, when the weather changes and becomes dry, as is currently the case in Quebec, things can change very quickly.

A ban on open fires is in effect for the entire province.

With information from Patrick Butler and CBC

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