By Patrick Quinn Local Journalism Initiative Reporter As the changing season brings cooler and wetter weather, Quebec’s forest-fire prevention agency SOPFEU is reducing its crews and moving management operations for the James Bay region to Val-d’Or. While fires continued to burn throughout Eeyou Istchee, most are under observation and don’t pose a threat to communities or infrastructure. The biggest concern at press time was the Wemindji fire 602, which was slowly progressing from the community access road to the Billy Diamond Highway. Thickening smoke from that fire forced the highway’s partial closure on August 27 but it reopened the following morning. High winds projected at 50 km/h prompted a Phase 1 evacuation of 230 of Wemindji’s most vulnerable residents to Chisasibi after a state of emergency was declared August 16.
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