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Officials in Port-Cartier, Que. report no change in forest fire situation despite evacuations

MONTREAL—Officials from the municipality of Port Cartier, Que., on the province’s north shore say the situation remains stable after fires raging in the region prompted the mayor to declare a state of emergency and order the evacuation of about 1,000 of its residents.

At a press conference on Saturday, Mayor Alain Thibault said the state of emergency declared on Friday has been extended to five days and described the evacuation of residents from specific neighbourhoods as quick but efficient.

The municipality of Port-Cartier said evacuated residents from the Parc Brunel and Parc Dominique areas, as well as those living north of Route 138, could find refuge in emergency accommodation at a temporary shelter in Baie-Comeau, about 170 kilometres to the southwest.

Isabelle Gariépy, communications officer for provincial forest fighting agency SOPFEU, says waterbombers are currently working to put out the flames and firefighters will have a lot of work on their hands in the next few days.

Of the four fires in the Sept-Rivières region surrounding Port Cartier, three are out of control, including one west of the city of Sept-Îles – all of which were caused by lightning strikes.

Gariépy says the region is very dry and facing an extreme fire risk, adding that while the blaze has so far not progressed since Friday night, warmer afternoon weather could cause the flames to spread.

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