Meteoric rise of a forest fire in the Lac-Saint-Jean

Progression fulgurante d’un feu de forêt au Lac-Saint-Jean

QMI agency

A forest fire deemed uncontrollable rages north of Lac Saint-Jean, in the vicinity of the hydroelectric power station Péribonka.

The fire, which grew to 10 meters per minute in the day Friday, presents a potential danger for the power plant of 400 megawatts, but Hydro-Québec is reassuring.

“The progression of forest fires tends to decrease during the night because of the dew of the morning and the weather a little cooler,” says Maxence Loonie Lefebvre, a spokesman for Hydro-Québec.

For the moment, a distance of 7 km separates the inferno of the hydropower plant, which does not present an immediate danger to the eyes of the State company.

As soon as a distance of 5 kilometers between the fire and the plant will be reached, the SOPFEU will be called to water the fire to prevent the fire from approaching further.

Hydro-Québec would, however, like to reassure its customers, as the corporation has 60 hydroelectric power plants on its territory and the forest fire does not pose any risk to the electricity supply.

“It will not generate a fault, and at the present time, the fire is still far from the plant,” says Mr. Huard Lefebvre.

Earlier this week, tanker trucks were assigned to extinguish the blaze but seeing the extent of the fire, the SOPFEU has been deployed on the ground.

The forest fire continues to progress

The forest fire in the zec des Passes, in the Lac-Saint-Jean, now extends to the equivalent of 46 517 courses of professional soccer, an area that should continue to expand while the weather suggests a progression of the flames.

The blaze touched 32 562 hectares on Friday at the end of the day. The progression has not stopped ringing, so that the area affected was 21 300 hectares to 17 h, a surface that is already four times higher than the previous day.

The Company of protection against fires (SOPFEU) is expected to revise upwards the territory affected when the fire may be observed of the air, possibly in the afternoon. “We wanted to revisit it this morning, but the flight conditions didn’t allow it”, indicates, however, the spokesperson Josée Poitras.

26 degrees Celsius predicted for the day of Saturday does not inspire a lull next to forest firefighters. The rain could give them a boost, while the risk of a thunderstorm are advertised in the sector. “It suggests a behavior where the fire will still enlarge area”, anticipates Ms. Poitras.

The 42 firefighters already in action are added to the reinforcements of 18 colleagues on the floor of forests. Other fighters from elsewhere in the province are expected soon to come to support their colleagues.

Chalets burned to the ground

Environment Canada has issued a warning for the poor quality of the air in the area, directly caused by the forest fires.

If the surrounding area were evacuated, several homeowners may have to face a sad state of affairs when they can return to their cottage.

“Some have probably been completely razed. The count is not done, because it is too dangerous to go on the floor to check,” says Josée Poitras.

The MRC Maria-Chapdeleine and the Fjord-du-Saguenay are to contact the owners of a lease resort in the territory to notify them of the situation.

The spokesperson of the SOPFEU recalls that the “totality” of Quebec is currently under a ban of open fire.

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