Quebec Forest Fires Rage

Quebec Forest Fires Rage

On August 18, Quebec’s forest fires raged out of control for the eleventh day, having ravaged over 100 square miles of timberland worth over $1 million. A Canadian official said “It will take an act of God to stop this fire.”

Over 167 women and children had already been evacuated from its path as the fire threatened the little town of Ste. Therese de Colombier on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, almost opposite Rimouski, which itself was almost razed by a conflagration a few years ago. Some 700 persons were removed from St. Therese de Colombier, the older boys and men remaining to fight the flames, the worst in Quebec Province in 20 years. Threat of fire also was expected to necessitate the abandonment of Baie St. Paul and other small lumbering and farming communities about 200 miles east of Quebec.

Prayers apparently failing to bring rain, a “rainmaker” was brought from Cambridge, Mass., but he could not find sufficient clouds to bring about precipitation. Meanwhile all telephone communications were limited to emergency calls, and traffic restricted to vehicles carrying refugees from the danger area and to fire-fighting equipment.

Smoke couid be seen 300 miles along the St. Lawrence and fresh winds intensified the flames about the time 1,000 fire fighters believed they had them under control. Heavy property losses were suffered by the Anglo-Canadian Pulp and Paper Co., Consolidated Paper Co. and the Quebec Northshore Lumber Co.

The fire broke out on the 10th, and is believed started by berry pickers. In the Quebec area the weather had been dry for three weeks. All lumber operations were suspended. Sixty smaller fires have been reported in the same vicinity. All available fire forces were concentrated in the area.

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