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Rains quell forest fires in northern Quebec

July 6, 2013 at 12:02 PM

EASTMAIN, Quebec, July 6 (UPI) -- Heavy rains helped quell wildfires burning in Quebec, prompting local officials to lift a state of emergency in Eastmain and allow evacuees to return home.

Officials said the rain and shifting winds helped combat major forest fires in northern Quebec, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday.

"We're lifting the state of emergency. We want to bring our people home," said George Cheezo, public safety officer for the northern community of Eastmain, near James Bay.

Fires burning near Eastmain forced about 300 people to evacuate last week.

Cheezo said those residents will be back in their homes Saturday.

"Everything will settle down," Cheezo said.

The fires have so far burned more than 864,869 acres.

"Year after year we have fires in the North, but not as big as this one," said Jacques Viger, the head of civil protection for Abitibi-Temiscamingue and Northern Quebec.

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