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Quebec mayor, 23, resigns mid-mandate because of burnout from managing forest fires

CHAPAIS, Que. — One of Quebec’s youngest mayors says she is stepping down because she is suffering burnout from last summer’s historic wildfire season.

Isabelle Lessard was acclaimed in 2021 as mayor of Chapais, Que., a town of just over 1,500 people, located 400 kilometres northwest of Quebec City.

Lessard says her resignation is effective Nov. 17, about halfway through her mandate.

The 23-year-old had been off the job since mid-September, after shepherding Chapais through one of the worst forest fire seasons on record.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Lessard says she feels unable to complete her term and is at risk of developing post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Lessard says that before going on leave, she was sleeping poorly and felt constantly stressed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2023.

The Canadian Press