Fire in Labrador still out of control

Josh
Josh Pennell
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Smoke from Quebec reduces air quality

Smoke plumes from the flair up at Flora Lake was taken from a back yard in Wabush. — Photo by Neil Simmons/Special to The Telegram

A fire near Wabush in Labrador West continued to burn out of control during the weekend, while limited visibility kept water bombers out of the air Saturday and smoke from other fires in neighbouring Quebec reduced air quality.

Three water bombers, six helicopters, 40 personnel and one incident management team were available to work the fire Saturday, according to an update on the provincial government’s website.

However, limited visibility at the fire site meant that water bombers were not deployed, while helicopters were able to fly.

Ground crews were deployed to work on hot spots throughout the burning area, and that continued Sunday.  Some precipitation fell in the area Saturday with amounts varying from 5 to 10 mm.

On Sunday, smoke from Quebec had diminished in the area, according to the Department of Natural Resources website.

Helicopters equipped with buckets assisted firefighters, and water bombers were available as required.

The estimated size of the fire Sunday was 27,000 hectares, 17,000 of which was burning in Quebec.

Labrador City firefighters helped natural resources workers, providing equipment and personnel along the Trans-Labrador Highway.

An update from the government Sunday stated there was significant risk inside the fire zone and people needed to stay out of the area and  not attempt to enter the area by boat.

A state of emergency was still in effect for the area Sunday and people were being told to be prepared to leave on short notice.

Making matters worse, the area experienced further phone problems.

Labrador West did not have 911 services during the weekend and it was still not repaired by Sunday evening.

There were also issues with landline and long-distance services. The province continued to ask people to reduce the use of landlines while repairs were being carried out.

Vehicle escorts continued with the assistance of police and the Labrador Ground Search and Rescue volunteers along route 500 on a regular basis when it was safe to do so.

The government also listed numbers to use in the absence of 911 services. Landline to landline, the number to call for the RNC Labrador West area is 709-944-7602 and the number for the Capt. William Jackman Memorial Hospital is 709-944-2632. Landline to landline in Wabush, the number for Wabush Fire and Emergency Service is 709-282-3211 and Labrador City Fire Services is 709-944-7778.

Cellphone numbers that will work from cellphone to cellphone in the event of an emergency include the RNC at 709-280-9011 and Labrador City Fire Services at 709-282-8268.

josh.pennell@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Labrador City, Department of Natural Resources, Labrador Ground Search Capt. William Jackman Memorial Hospital Wabush Fire and Emergency Service

Geographic location: Labrador West, Quebec, Wabush

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