Forest fires: “There’s no point in panicking,” says the mayor of Baie-Comeau

Forest fires: “There’s no point in panicking,” says the mayor of Baie-Comeau
Forest fires: “There’s no point in panicking,” says the mayor of Baie-Comeau

At a press briefing in front of city hall, the mayor of Baie-Comeau Michel Desbiens reassured the population in connection with the forest fires which forced evacuations in Port-Cartier.

“I’m not very nervous, there’s no point in panicking. We talk with the authorities and we know that everyone is doing their job. We are ready to welcome people and SOPFEU is currently working very hard. You don’t have to be worried,” he comments.

The municipal authority is monitoring the situation very closely. “We are in discussion with the CISSS and the Ministry of Public Security every hour. We make adjustments as requests come to us,” explains the elected official when questioned by the media.

All municipal services have been working hard since last night. Employees were deployed to prepare the Henry-Leonard Center to receive disaster victims.

“Within an hour, everyone was at work and we started setting up beds to accommodate people,” says Mr. Desbiens, not forgetting to thank the municipal staff. Some employees even canceled their vacations to help out.

Regarding the number of beds available, for the moment there are 200 ready. “We want to build another 150 quickly. We have the beds. There are other beds coming from Montreal in the coming hours,” specifies the mayor.

In addition to accommodation, the City of Baie-Comeau also makes sure to offer food to evacuees. “As of yesterday evening, we contacted certain restaurants, certain grocery stores, even pharmacies if they could open longer if there were needs. People may have left without medication,” confirms Michel Desbiens.

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Last year, such mobilization was also necessary after residents of Sept-Îles were evacuated from their homes due to forest fires. The accommodation center had not received many people, but it was a good practice, according to the first magistrate.

“We saw it last night, it paid off. It was very quick for everyone to put their shoulder to the wheel,” he says.

“Our hearts go out to the residents of Port-Cartier. I spoke with the mayor of Port-Cartier last night. We told him that we were ready to receive people who had to be evacuated and that if they needed he could call me. We could quickly move on to help if they had other needs,” concludes the Baie-Comois elected official.

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