Quebec makes progress against record wildfire season as blaze in B.C. grows
By The Canadian PressHeadlines News Wildfires Emergency & disaster management Canada wildfire season Canada wildfires wildfires
Jun 12, 2023, Canada – Quebec was on the offensive in its battle against a record wildfire season Monday, as gusty winds fuelled a huge blaze in northeastern British Columbia forcing more evacuations.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault said there were more than 1,200 people fighting fires across the province, including reinforcements from New Brunswick and France. Thousands of Quebecers were also starting to return home as the fire situation improved.
Legault said there would likely be fewer than 4,000 evacuees by the end of the day, down from a peak on Friday of more than 13,500.
In Nova Scotia, firefighters were preparing to take to the sky in a new tactic to tackle the largest wildfire recorded in that province.
Officials with the province’s Department of Natural Resources are to fly in a helicopter this week over the 235-square-kilometre fire in Shelburne County and use infrared scanners to detect areas where firefighters should be dispatched.
The fire in southwest Nova Scotia was no longer growing Monday but still classified as out of control.
The blaze has forced more than 6,000 people from their homes and destroyed 60 houses and cottages, as well as 150 other structures.
In B.C., two evacuation orders were issued Sunday for remote properties outside Fort Nelson as crews battled a 4,049-square-kilometre wildfire – the second-largest recorded in the province.
The B.C. Wildfire Service said winds responsible for the weekend trouble around Fort Nelson also aided firefighters on a separate blaze south of Fort St. John, which prompted an evacuation of the entire northeastern community of Tumbler Ridge.
More than 80 fires were burning around B.C., including a stubborn 2.5-square-kilometre fire in steep terrain above Highway 4 on Vancouver Island, forcing the continued closure of the main route to Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet.
A convoy of supply trucks carried gas, food and other items into the region Sunday over a rough, four-hour detour, which has provided essential access to the Island’s west coast since the human-caused wildfire began raining debris onto the highway last week.
In northern Ontario, the number of active wildfires increased to 67 – up from 62 on Sunday. The 14 new fires began in northwestern Ontario, where 12 fires were not yet under control.
Wildfires continued to grow west of Edmonton over the weekend, but Yellowhead County officials said the flames haven’t creep closer to Edson, a town of 8,400 people. It was evacuated Friday – the second time in the last few weeks.
Selena Wilson and Curtis Wardill said they hadn’t unpacked from the first evacuation.
“I’ve kind of had bags kept in the bedroom because I didn’t feel it was a good time to unpack yet with the weather being so crazy,” Wilson said Sunday at a campground east of Edmonton, where she and her husband have taken refuge in their camper.
Nearly 14,000 people were under an evacuation order due to fires across Alberta, the province said Sunday.
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