Climate change gives hope for fighting fires

Montreal (AFP) – Firefighters battling blazes in Canada had a glimmer of hope Saturday, with better weather expected in the coming days.

Quebec provincial officials said the next 48 hours will be crucial, with rain forecast for Monday and hot and humid weather until then.

But Public Safety Minister François Bonardel said authorities were concerned about Normetal, 450 miles (720 kilometers) northwest of Montreal, where the fires are still burning.

Another front in the fight against the fire is in Lebel-sur-Quévillon, a commune where the largest outbreak is located. The authorities said the situation was stable in Chibugomao, Mystiseni, Shabbis and Ji Bogomo.

There have been more than 130 outbreaks in the county, Bonardell said, and teams have prioritized 37, with 861 firefighters on the ground and 20 hydrants.

Provincial authorities say 13,810 Quebecers have been evacuated due to the situation in the province.

Hundreds of firefighters from France, the United States, Spain and Portugal have arrived or will arrive in the coming days.

Canadian and US officials said the night before that the fog had cleared and the situation in Quebec had improved.

The Quebec Fire Agency said the current season is the worst on record. The province has recorded 444 wildfires so far this year, compared to an average of 207 for the same date in previous years.

Experts attribute the high number of fires to an unusually warm and wet period in the spring.

The authorities say there have been no reports of deaths or injuries.

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Sacha Woodward

"Wannabe writer. Lifelong problem solver. Gamer. Incurable web guru. Professional music lover."

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