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Many Quebec fire evacuees being allowed to return home as situation improves: premier

MONTREAL — Thousands of Quebecers who were forced by out-of-control wildfires to evacuate their towns and cities are starting to return home as the situation improves.

Those returning home today include the approximately 7,500 residents of Chibougamau, 500 kilometres northwest of Quebec City, and several Indigenous communities.

Premier François Legault told a news conference today there should be fewer than 4,000 evacuees remaining by the end of the day, down from a peak of more than 13,500 on Friday.  

He says the northwestern Quebec town of Lebel-sur-Quévillon remains under evacuation, as does Normétal, where firefighters managed on Sunday to contain a blaze that had come within 500 metres of the town.

Legault says there are now more than 1,200 people fighting fires across the province, including reinforcements from New Brunswick and France.

Quebec has been having a record wildfire season with 449 fires to date, including 130 burning as of this morning.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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