French President Sending 100 Firefighters to Fight Quebec Wildfires

by EditorK

(Photo by Pexels-Pixabay)

Updated: June 5, 2023

As thousands of Quebec residents evacuated due to the more than 150 wildfires over the weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron said his country will send 100 firefighters to help.

“Canadian friends, reinforcements are coming,” he said in a June 4 tweet in French.

“Canada is facing terrible fires. France is united. A hundred of our firefighters are preparing to fight the flames alongside their Quebec comrades. Experts are also mobilized.”

Quebec Premier Francois Legault posted a thank-you to the French president on Twitter, saying “Merci cousins!”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded shortly afterward on June 4 as well, thanking Macron.

“On behalf of Canadians, and in particular those affected by the forest fires: thank you. Our two countries are the closest friends and strongest partners, and this relationship is more important than ever,” said Trudeau.

On the morning of June 5, Quebec’s forest fire prevention group, the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU), issued a statement saying they are “currently fighting a high number of fires, particularly in the regions of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Côte-Nord, Mauricie, Nord-du-Québec and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. Intervention priorities are focused on the protection of human life, the protection of communities and essential infrastructure.”

Wildfires in northwestern Quebec have caused the evacuations of more than 5,500 residents from the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region, which borders Ontario, and another 4,500 people from the north shore community of Sept-Îles and neighbouring outskirts. Approximately 14,000 more residents have been evacuated throughout Quebec due to thick smoke and nearby blazes.

The military has been assisting in Quebec, with 100 arriving on June 3, and another 100 expected June 5, which saw the total number of fires rise to 156, from 134 the day before.

Thirty-five fires are being actively fought by 500 firefighters with SOPFEU.

At a news conference in Montreal on June 5 outside provincial police headquarters, Public Security Minister François Bonnardel said authorities are focused on protecting “human life, the houses and enterprises. And we want to protect our infrastructure, like Hydro-Québec’s.”

“Within a few days, there should be more than 1,000 people on the ground to fight these fires,” Bonnardel said.

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.



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