Wildfires and smoke in northern Quebec are forcing a Cree community in Mistissini to evacuate their homes at 8 a.m. Friday morning.
On its Facebook page, the Cree Nation of Mistissini said people are invited to leave with an emergency kit and make their way to the Neoskweskau sports complex to register before hitting the road. For those who have a car, the meeting point will be communicated there.
Those who do not have a car should also go to the Neoskweskau sports complex, as transport is available.
The community of about 3,000 people will make its way to Chicoutimi, according to Jason Secapio, who works for Mistissini’s public safety.
According to the community, the fire is located 28 kilometers from Mistissini.
People in fragile health, including those with reduced mobility or long-term health problems, have already evacuated Mistissini on Tuesday.
“We have made the decision to evacuate the community. The evacuation will take effect (Friday) morning. (…) We have enough time to evacuate,” Mistissini chief Michael Petawabano said in a Facebook video.
La Passion de Rubie animal shelter in Alma will take in up to 60 pets at the Mistissini Sports Complex on Friday morning. Another 40 pets can be taken in by the same shelter if the owners can bring them to Alma.
Fire still out of control
This is reported by the provincial fire department Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU), the fire closest to Mistissini, is still out of control and covers an area of nearly 40,000 hectares.
The Cree Nation of Mistissini Council expects the smoke to make it much harder to see in the coming days.
“Sunday is expected to be very heavy smoke. Driving is expected to be difficult due to poor visibility. We have time to carefully evacuate,” says a post on the community’s Facebook page.
Environment Canada issued a special bulletin on Thursday about air quality in the Chibougamau sector. According to meteorologist Jean-Philippe Bégin, the air quality is very bad.