Forest fires: nearly 1,000 citizens evacuated in Port-Cartier

Forest fires: nearly 1,000 citizens evacuated in Port-Cartier
Forest fires: nearly 1,000 citizens evacuated in Port-Cartier

The City of Port-Cartier, on the North Shore, asked its citizens in three sectors to evacuate the premises Friday evening. The city penitentiary also reportedly has an evacuation plan in case the fires get worse.

Wildfires intensify; flames were seen about 15 km north of the city. Around noon, a large blaze was detected by SOPFEU forest firefighters.

Brunel Park, Dominique Park and residences located north of Route 138 had to be evacuated before 8 p.m. The City issued an evacuation notice late in the afternoon, giving its citizens a few hours to leave the area. Port-Cartier has approximately 6,500 inhabitants, but approximately 1,000 are currently targeted.

At least four different and large fires were noticed on Friday.

A transport service was organized to Baie-Comeau, where an accommodation center was set up.

A state of emergency was also declared by the municipality.

Samuel Denis-Girard

The City of Sept-Îles also remains on pre-alert for two sectors: Gallix (including Rivière-Brochu) as well as Lac-Labrie. The municipality is located approximately 60 km from Port-Cartier.

The penitentiary potentially evacuated

Among the buildings north of Route 138 is also the Port-Cartier penitentiary. According to our information, the Correctional Service of Canada is preparing for a possible evacuation of this important maximum security building. This would be a complex operation, which requires a lot of security measures.

At the end of the evening, the Correctional Service confirmed that “a plan is in place to evacuate the Port-Cartier Institution.” Detainees will be moved to locations designated in advance. “We have put measures in place to ensure evacuations are carried out in a way that does not compromise the safety of the public, our staff or offenders in our custody.”

Screenshot TVA News

While the afternoon was marked by strong winds, which caused the flames to spread widely, the fires calmed down in the evening on Friday. At least four air tankers were on site during the day trying to bring the blazes under control.

“We are monitoring the fire near Port-Cartier on the North Shore,” said Quebec Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel.

A lack of information

Citizens were first informed late in the afternoon on social networks. According to a young woman, this alert is not enough for all residents to be aware of the situation. “Not all people have access to it, especially the elderly, perhaps they should have had a visit from the police or the City who could have come and warned citizens directly,” she indicates.

Another lady even said that she was informed of the evacuation notice by her neighbors. She believes that the City warned its residents at the last minute.

For its part, the City of Port-Cartier did not wish to communicate with the media on Friday evening. Officials plan to provide more details on the situation Saturday morning.



NEXT To lower electricity prices, the next government will have to change the rules