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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Default Quebec Province Fires

    MONTREAL (CP) - Roaring fires that have claimed an area of
    northern Quebec forest four times the size of the island of
    Montreal and cast an eerie pall over some major cities in Canada
    and the United States thwarted the efforts of firefighters Monday
    to put them out.
    Despite the efforts of more than 500 firefighters battling
    intense heat and smoke on the ground and 18 water bombers dumping
    thousands of litres from above, the 37 crackling infernos persisted
    - nine of them out of control.
    The fires, which are 1,000 kilometres north of Montreal in the
    James Bay region, have sent thick clouds of smoke billowing towards
    major population centres such as Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto and
    as far south as Washington, D.C.
    A wind shift Monday sent the smoke drifting into the Maritimes,
    where authorities in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island issued
    health alerts to residents.
    "There is particulate matter in forest fire smoke that is a
    respiratory irritant and depending on the individual, it may have
    some effect," said Dr. Wayne MacDonald, New Brunswick's Chief
    Medical Officer of Health.
    At-risk groups include children, the elderly and people with
    heart or lung conditions such as asthma or emphysema.
    "It depends what the individual condition is as to how it plays
    out," MacDonald said. "It's a respiratory irritant so if you have
    asthma for example, it may make your asthma symptoms worse.
    "Small children tend to breathe faster and take in more air.
    They may be irritated. It may be anything from irritated eyes and
    throat to developing a cough."
    MacDonald said Environment Canada had said the effects of the
    forest fires could be present until Tuesday in his province.
    "There's certainly a haze in the air," MacDonald said in a
    telephone interview from Fredericton. "I haven't been outside but
    some people are indicating they smell it so it's obviously here."

    Health officials in New York, New Jersey and eastern
    Pennsylvania also urged people to avoid strenuous activity.
    Winds pushed the smoke as far south as Washington, D.C., and
    from Michigan to Massachusetts during the weekend.
    "It smelled like someone's house was burning down," said John
    Agee, a graduate student at the University of Albany in New York.
    Pierre Lessard, a meteorologist with Environment Canada in
    Quebec City, said the winds would continue throughout the week and
    did not hold out much hope that heavy rain would save the day up
    north - at least in the short term.
    "We don't expect a lot of rain," he said. "We expect
    thunderstorms again and if there are thunderstorms it means
    possibly other forest fires will start."
    Lessard said it wasn't unusual for other areas to be affected
    and recalled that smoke from a northern Quebec forest fire in 1991
    had darkened the sky in Halifax so much that street lights had to
    be turned on.
    Quebec Premier Bernard Landry should ask Ottawa to send the
    Armed Forces to help with the firefighting, said Guy St-Julien,
    Liberal MP for Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik.
    Under the law, a premier must make a formal request before the
    troops can be authorized to participate in such an effort.
    St-Julien, who made public a latter he wrote to Landry, said in an
    interview he felt obliged to speak up "in a case like this."
    The smoke left a film of particles in its wake when it passed
    through Montreal on Sunday, covering the city in a haze and giving
    the sun a red hue as it peered through the clouds.
    Lightning strikes sparked the fires a week ago and have so far
    claimed 206,000 hectares, said Charlotte Leger, a spokeswoman for
    Quebec's forest fire protection service.
    "It's a just a little less than four times the island of
    Montreal."
    There have been no injuries but firefighters are being pushed to
    their limits, trying to contain the infernos with firebreaks and
    other methods.
    Heat and smoke have been "a real problem," she said.
    "The intensity can be so high it makes a turbulence in the air
    on top of the fire so it could be dangerous for the planes," she
    said. "So they don't attack that way when it's too high. They do
    it on the side, they attack the back of the fire and they protect
    as much as they can before the fire can get to another part of the
    forest."
    About 50 helicopters have also been pressed into service for
    transport or to battle the blaze, which is the worst in the area
    since 1996.
    Firefighters from Quebec have been aided by reinforcements from
    Ontario and New Brunswick as well as water bombers from Manitoba
    and Newfoundland.
    A small crew is trying to protect the Cree village of Nemaska,
    whose 500 residents were evacuated from the town on Friday. A fire
    wall has been built around the village but smoke is still thick.
    "We're able to fight it but what we're afraid of is sparks that
    fly through the air," said Chief George Wapachee. "There's
    nothing we can do with these. We're hoping they don't land right in
    the community because we have trees."

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


  2. #2
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post Update 7/10

    CAMP DANIEL, Quebec (AP) - Cooler weather and intermittent rain
    helped in the fight against forest fires in northern Quebec on
    Wednesday.
    Quebec Natural Resources Minister Francois Gendron said
    Wednesday the situation had improved dramatically over the last few
    days. "We think we can gain control of them in the next few
    days," he said in Camp Daniel, about 500 kilometers north of
    Quebec City.
    Twenty-eight fires were burning late Wednesday across Quebec,
    compared with about 40 at the start of the week. Part of that
    decline occurred after some smaller fires joined to form single
    blazes.
    "The surface hit by fires is immense but there's a lot of space
    within the perimeter that hasn't been touched," Gendron said. To
    date about 238,000 hectares - almost 24 million acres - of Quebec
    forest has burned.
    Gendron said it's too early to estimate the cost of the fires to
    the forest industry but they have caused "almost no job losses".
    He told reporters that factories using timber as raw material
    "have stockpiles for their production. So anybody who puts forward
    a figure for job losses due to the fires is off base - for now."
    Gendron said 50 percent of the timber burned can likely be
    recovered "so any loss estimates should be cut in half."
    The firefighting effort, stepped up since the start of July,
    costs Quebec about $1.5 million a day.
    "The main perimeter of the fires is under control and after
    that we just have to work on the small hot spots," said Gaetan
    Lemaire, a fire crew chief. "The fire intensity is less so they
    (the firefighters) are able to work closer to the fire and to have
    better results."
    Lightning sparked the fires about a week ago.
    The smoke from the fires had spread south last week into New
    York and New England. It has also blown and east as far as
    Newfoundland.
    For crews based at Camp Daniel, the situation Wednesday marked a
    big turnaround from Monday, when the fire danger outlook was so
    serious that the camp came close to an evacuation order.
    On Wednesday, firefighters continued to focus on extinguishing
    smaller fires. Two remaining major fires were far from the camp, in
    a roadless area, and water bombers needed an hour's flying to reach
    them. Those fires were due for more aerial water attacks Thursday.

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  3. #3
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post Costs

    MONTREAL (CP) - The cost of battling wildfires sweeping northern
    Quebec so far is $15 million and counting.
    It costs an estimated $1.5 million a day to douse the fires
    ravaging a wooded area north of Lac St. Jean, the Montreal Gazette
    reported.
    While consistently cool weather and some light rain helped tame
    the flames, the situation is far from over, fire officials said
    Thursday.
    "We got one to two millimetres of rain. That's enough to cool
    its ardour," said Eric Santerre of the provincial forest fire
    prevention service.
    "We've been lucky. It's getting better and better. But what we
    really need are two days of heavy rain," he said. "If nature was
    more generous, the (final) bill could be lighter."
    With reduced smoke and heat, water bombers flew overhead for
    direct hits on the crackling flames.
    "There was so much smoke and heat that they couldn't get close
    enough to the flames," Santerre said of a 1,000 square-kilometre
    area that was burning uncontrollably a day earlier. "All they
    could do was watch it burn. But that's over."
    Firefighters working 12-hour days have contained about 25
    fires.
    But fire officials still fear the situation could change at any
    moment. The forecast Friday called for a sprinkling of rain - but
    with winds at 30-50 km/h that could fan the flames.
    Fires have claimed about 2,500 square kilometres of forest
    between the Manicouagan Reservoir and Lake Mistassini.
    North of the 52nd parallel, where fires are allowed to burn
    freely because the wood has no commercial value, fires have ravaged
    3,500 square kilometres of forest.
    Government officials reopened some roads Thursday.
    While it's too early to estimate the cost of the fires to the
    forest industry, the charred swaths aren't a complete write-off,
    said Claude Chartier, an aide to provincial Resources Minister
    Francois Gendron, after spending the day at Camp Daniel, 500
    kilometres north of Quebec City.
    "The trees have been burned but we can recover the trunks,
    which still have commercial value," he said.
    Also, while the surface hit by fires is huge, a lot of space
    within the perimeter has been spared, he added.
    Some forestry officials are saying the damage appears to be
    minimal.
    Industry giant Abitibi-Consolidated said the layoff of 400
    people last Friday in the Lac St. Jean area had more to do with
    U.S. lumber tariffs than fires.
    "The fires just accelerated the layoffs," said spokesman Erika
    Beaumier.
    "We thought that because of all the smoke that everything was
    destroyed," she said of fires that have affected about 200 square
    kilometres, or about two per cent, of Abitibi's cutting rights.
    "The financial impact for us is minimal." (Montreal Gazette)

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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