Montrealers sweat through blackouts as forest fires cut power
Friday, July 5, 2013, 9:24 -
Thousands of Quebecers had to sweat through a second day of blackouts caused by raging forest fires in northern Quebec on Thursday.
According to Hydro-Quebec, 500,000 homes and businesses were affected at the peak of the blackout until service was gradually restored by the evening hours Thursday.
In Montreal, police were sent to control several intersections as traffic lights went out. Montreal's subway system was temporarily shut down when it lost power, but the trains were running again by 6 pm.
Officials say smoke from the fires had caused a major transmission line to seize up near James Bay and that caused a cascading effect through the system.
The fires have scorched more than 280,000 hectares of northern forests and are blamed on the driest summer in 40 years around James Bay.
Some of the smoke earlier this week could be detected hundreds of kilometres away in Montreal.
With files from The Canadian Press