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Quebec forest fires at critical level: officials

Quebec on fire
User ID: 242378
05/28/2007 05:58 PM
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Quebec forest fires at critical level: officials
Wow... what is going on eh?

Quebec forest fires at critical level: officials
Last Updated: Sunday, May 27, 2007 | 9:58 AM ET
CBC News

Forest fires have reached a critical level in Quebec, especially in the northwest and north-central regions, while forcing more than 1,000 people to flee an eastern reserve, officials say.

The provincial forest fire prevention agency, the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu, said 26 fires are burning in the province six of them out of control.

A spokeswoman for the agency, Melanie Morin, said this year has been worse than usual for forest fires in the province.

"To date, we've had 280 forest fires since the beginning of the season. Our five-year average is 189 fires and only 2,600 hectares, so we're quite above that," she said.

The situation was particularly bad in the northwestern Abitibi region and in north-central Quebec near Senneterre, about 420 kilometres northwest of Montreal. The fire there was being contained Sunday afternoon, said Jacques Nadeau, a spokesman for the société.

"If Mother Nature brings us some rain we'll be able to bring it under control," he said.

Late Saturday, a blaze forced about 1,200 people to flee the Maliotenam reserve near Sept-Îles, which lies on the north shore of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. They were returning to their homes on Sunday.

The British Columbia Forest Service responded to a call for help and is sending more than 60 firefighters to fight flames in northwestern Quebec.

Less than two weeks earlier, 140 B.C. firefighters were deployed in Ontario.

Some of those firefighters are helping to fight one of the biggest fires in the province, north of Sudbury. It started on Wednesday and covers more than 800 hectares.

[link to www.cbc.ca]