Legault talks about new aid for businesses victims of forest fires

The Prime Minister Francois Legault is considering new aid for forestry companies in need due to the forest fires.

“We cannot rule out, as we did during the pandemic, when we have the exact picture of the situation and the next steps, that certain loans will be converted into grants to help businesses that really need help. help, ”he explained in a press briefing Monday at Normetal, in Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

Mr. Legault added that decisions on the matter will be made on a case-by-case basis.

The Prime Minister also mentioned that businesses – such as outfitters – are not insured for loss of income. “For loss of income, we are not excluding anything and we will gradually help everyone,” he said.

The Prime Minister recalled that aid programs have already been put in place for evacuees and businesses.

“We get help more often than we help others”

Although the fight against Forest fires not yet finished, the Prime Minister is already thinking about the future. In particular, he mentioned the idea that trenches should be dug preventively around the villages in order to prevent possible fires from reaching the houses.

François Legault does not exclude either to invest more for the purchase of tanker planes and the hiring of forest firefighters.

“The SOPFEU people also tell me: ‘We get help more often than we are going to help others’. So it might be time to increase the resources, ”he illustrated.

“We needed people from New Brunswick, Newfoundland, France, the United States. Of course, we would like to have more autonomy,” added the Prime Minister.

After Normal, Mr. Legault must go to Lebel-sur-Quévillon on Monday afternoon to visit areas affected by forest fires.

Fire ban lifted

The Government of Quebec announced Monday morning the total and immediate lifting of the ban on open fires in or near the forest. This measure had been in effect since the end of last May.

The weather conditions that Environment Canada predicted Monday for the start of the week in the Nord-du-Québec region should only give a little help to the teams fighting against major forest fires, particularly in sectors in outskirts of James Bay.

The federal agency predicted Monday morning that during the day, the probability of showers would rise to 60%. Showers were expected in the evening and overnight, with the possibility of a thunderstorm. For the day and evening of Tuesday, as well as overnight on Wednesday, the chance of showers was down to 40%.

No continued rain was expected.

At the end of last week, the Society for the Protection of Forests against Fire (SOPFEU) said that no community or municipality was directly threatened by the flames. The operations took place mainly in Radisson, where the airport was threatened by fire, as well as in the localities of Wemindji, Waskaganish and Eastmain, because of the proximity of the flames to the access roads.

The fire was also approaching Billy Diamond Road, a major road access to the north.

On the other hand, Environment Canada maintained on Monday for the James Bay region and for certain Cree communities a report of poor air quality, due to high concentrations of fine particles from forest fires. These conditions could persist in the coming days, it was added.

Further north, the Inuit communities of Umiujaq, Kuujjuarapik and Inukjuak, on the Hudson Bay coast, were also affected Monday by poor air quality, as was that of Kuujuaq, near the Ungava Bay.

Early Monday morning, SOPFEU reported that 101 fires were active in the Quebec forest, including 78 in the northern zone.

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