Forest fires: Port-Cartier residents evacuated; Sept-Îles on pre-alert

Forest fires: Port-Cartier residents evacuated; Sept-Îles on pre-alert
Forest fires: Port-Cartier residents evacuated; Sept-Îles on pre-alert

Still on the North Shore, Sept-Îles is in pre-alert mode due to fires. “The City of Sept-Îles has deployed its Municipal Civil Security Organization (OMSC),” the municipality published on its Facebook page Friday evening.

In Port-Cartier, the areas of Brunel Park, Dominique Park and residences located north of Route 138 had to be evacuated before 8 p.m. A total of approximately 1,000 residents are affected, according to the Ministry of Public Safety.

The municipality is redirecting citizens to Baie-Comeau, which is 170 km west of Port-Cartier, where a temporary accommodation center has been established at the Center Henri-Léonard. “A shuttle network was also offered for residents until 10 p.m. “We are aware of the concern that a situation like this can create. In this sense, we ask you to remain calm and move carefully,” we can read on the social network.

The City of Port-Cartier advises its citizens that they can call 418-766-2348 for essential information.

The Port-Cartier penitentiary, which has more than 200 criminals, could also be evacuated in the coming hours. The detainees will be moved to “pre-designated locations” and will continue to be incarcerated in a secure manner, Noovo Info is told.

“We have put measures in place to ensure that evacuations are carried out in a way that does not compromise the safety of the public, our staff or the offenders in our custody,” Correctional Service Canada said by email. “People whose family members are incarcerated at the Port-Cartier Institution will receive, as soon as possible, information concerning the place where they will be incarcerated.”

The Red Cross, the CISSS de la Côte-Nord and the Sûreté du Québec are working with the City of Port-Cartier to ensure that the evacuation takes place in the best possible conditions and to ensure the safety of citizens.

Philippe Bergeron, prevention and communications officer for the Society for the Protection of Forests Against Fire (SOPFEU), specified Friday evening that four forest fires were still out of control in the region, including the one at a distance of approximately 15 kilometers north of Port-Cartier, which led to the evacuations. Fire 221 had an area of ​​more than 900 hectares as of Friday evening.

According to SOPFEU data, a lightning line was the cause of seven fires Thursday north of Port-Cartier to the north of Sept-Îles. “We contained these fires quite quickly, but in the afternoon (Friday) the fires regained strength and in a more aggressive manner, and we discovered others,” said Mr. Bergeron.

He said the fire was growing and the weather forecast was not in favor of forest firefighters at the moment. “We had a lot of wind, a lot of heat and we don’t expect any rain for a while,” he said. “We are really dependent on the conditions for the day (Saturday) to see how things will go.”

He said air tankers and fire crews on the ground were present Friday to fight the fires, but that some activities were reduced in the afternoon as the planes lost their effectiveness in the face of the intensity of the fires.

The teams will be there very early Saturday when the fire behavior is likely to be less intense, he added.

Philippe Bergeron recalls that a ban on making open fires in the forest is in force on the North Shore and in Gaspésie. “Fire dangers will remain extreme during the weekend,” he warns.

On Friday, nine forest fires were active in the province, including three out of control, all located in the MRC of Sept-Rivières on the North Shore.

With information from The Canadian Press

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