Canadian Rangers to help evacuate Quebec Cree communities threatened by wildfires

Weather and environment officials say 2023 is the worst wildfire season in Canadian history. Photo: APTN News

Ottawa is deploying Canadian Rangers to help evacuate northern Quebec communities threatened by wildfires.

Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair said today the government will also help fly people to safety.

Quebec’s forest fire agency says there are 134 wildfires burning in the province, including 93 in the zone that includes several Cree communities.

Canadian Rangers are part of the Canadian Army Reserve who live in remote, isolated and coastal regions of the country.

The Grand Council of the Crees said Thursday that several coastal communities in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay territory were in pre-evacuation mode due to fires that were causing poor air quality and cutting off road access.

The Cree nation of Eastmain, on the east coast of James Bay, declared a state of emergency late Thursday due to the fires and urged all residents to prepare for a full evacuation.

The Cree Health Board reported that the communities of Nemaska, Waskaganish and Wemindji had also started to evacuate vulnerable residents whose health could be at risk from the fires.

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