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Major forest fire continues to spread in Quebec's Lac-Saint-Jean region

A water bomber flies toward a major field and forest fire at Lambert Peat moss fields in Riviere-Ouelle, Que., Friday, June 19, 2020. The fire spread over more than 10 kilometres, pushed by strong winds.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
June 20, 2020 - 11:30 AM

MONTREAL - A major forest fire in Quebec's Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean region is continuing to spread, ravaging more than 11,000 hectares of forest overnight and forcing authorities to evacuate a large perimeter.

Josee Poitras, spokeswoman for the agency that oversees forest fires in the province, says the aggressive, out-of-control blaze now covers more than 32,000 hectares of forest and has steadily grown since Tuesday.

The fire started north of Dolbeau-Mistassini, in an area known as Chutes-des-Passes, and is heading towards Saguenay through the Monts-Valin area.

Poitras says the fire threatens an area that includes chalets and fishing camps, noting a ban on driving in the area was ordered Friday by the province's Forestry Department.

About 100 employees of the forest fire agency, known as SOPFEU, and 49 forest firefighters are battling the blaze today with a call for reinforcements from across the province.

Planes and helicopters are being used to combat the blaze again today, with temperatures expected to feel like 40 C in the area, further complicating the work of firefighters on the ground.

On Friday evening, Premier Francois Legault said he was concerned about the situation and said the priority was to keep citizens out of harm's way.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 20, 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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