Toronto’s smog was hidden by the smoke from forest fires in the James Bay region as were the skylines of New York, Montreal, Boston and a host of other southern communities.

Nemaska evacuated its population except for a few brave souls who stayed behind to try to protect their town. Using bulldozers and earthmovers they created a firebreak they hoped would hold back the raging fires. One family evacuated to another community only to be driven out again by smoke.

Robert Lemay of Société de prévention des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU) said that Nemaska is out of danger for now. Lemay said the fires will probably continue for about two more weeks depending on the rain. “A lot of rain this week would be good for us,” he said. He added that there was currently no need for more manpower to fight the fires.

At the time of printing 8,000 hectares of forests have been burnt.

Synopsis on the forest fires Sourced from the Quebec Forestry Protection Services website Danger of forest fires Sainte-Foy, July 2nd, noon – The long weekend left us with 27 forest fires, 4 of them were caused by humans and the others by lightning. The scorching weather will certainly light more fires in the next days and preventive measures might be put in effect (interdiction of open fires in forest and diminishing the hours of forest work by the industry). The SOPFEU (Société de prévention des forêts contre le feu) has 155 meterological stations in Quebec monitoring the danger of forest fires. Each year, 70 per cent of forest fires are man caused and only 30 per cent are from mother nature. Please if you make an open or cooking fire choose an open area. Have water near by and put it out really well. If you smoke, take a moment and put your butt out really well.

Forest Fires, lighting strikes Sainte-Foy, July 3rd, 1pm – Meteorological conditions of the last days prepared the critical situation that is now raging in the northern region. Since July 1, 58 fires have been started by thunder storms and more fires are feared to start in the next days. Right now SOPFEU is fighting 45 fires with 10 of them classified as out of control. Those are in Manic V area, near Nottaway River and also north of Lac St-Jean. In the James Bay area lots of fires are raging, the most troubling one is near Nemaska threatening the community and the Hydro installations and also the high voltage lines.

SOPFEU suggested to the forest industry to stop all work in the forest. And for the pubic to please verify the measures before heading into the woods.

Quebec forest fires: persistent smoke Sainte-Foy, July 6th, 11h30am – We are fighting right now 50 forest fires, most of them are in Lake Mistissini and River Péribonka and in James Bay. Smoke is travelling as far south as Montreal and Quebec City. It is strictly forbidden to travel in the forest north of Chibougamau and Chutes-des-Passes, and south of James Bay territory.

Major fires in the region: an overflow of calls to SOPFEU Roberval, Sunday July 7th – Fighting major fires in the Lake Mistissini area, the SOPFEU is advising that anyone who wants to get into the forest during the next few days should be advised that preventive measures to limit the start of new fires are in effect right now. Even if the temperature has dropped since last week, the danger of fire is extreme in Lac St-Jean area. Local showers have not given enough water yet. It is still forbidden to have open fires in the forest. It is still forbidden to walk in the forest in the northern region of Lac St-Jean. Maps of road blocks and information center is available on the web site of SOPFEU ( – good site to visit anytime for info on fire situation in Quebec. The population should not be alarmed by the smell of smoke, it is simply travelling smoke.

Forest fires: uplifting situation Thursday, July 11th 2002,10am. – Some precipitation’s and colder weather helped a lot the operations at Camp Daniel, where the command centre is located. If the meteorological conditions stay the same, the position might be consolidated, but right now any loss of control cannot be put aside since the fires are over such a huge territory. The situation is better now, even though we still have 21 fires raging. The level of the blaze is from high to extreme. The new fires are quickly contained to small areas. In the James Bay area, people who had been evacuated have regained their homes.