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Barrington Lake wildfire 'being held,' not expected to move weather permitting

A record-size wildfire in Shelburne County, N.S., isn’t likely to move if conditions don't change, officials say.

The nearly 25,000-hectare Barrington Lake fire is still out of control but classified as “being held,” the municipality said Tuesday night. It’s the largest of the five active wildfires in Nova Scotia, and about 140 DNRR firefighters and 40 volunteer and municipal firefighters are on the scene.

The province says 150 structures in Shelburne County are destroyed -- about 60 of them houses or cottages. About 5,500 people left their homes at the height of evacuations, including Barry Doane.

Fire burned through his home, cottage, and almost everything he owned.

“It’s devastating,” Doane said. “I usually break out in tears most of the time just talking about it. Just one wrong word and it just kind of brings out tears.”

He ran to safety with his cat and a suitcase.

The craftsman’s house and cottage aren’t insured but even if they were, so much was irreplaceable.

“It’s hard to imagine what I lost. My father was an artist. He did beautiful paintings and I never took none of them, none of that stuff.”

The province says reentry into evacuated areas will hinge on progress made in an ongoing investigation into the wildfire.

Dave Rockwood with Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources and Renewables told CTV News Tuesday that firefighters are having a much better week so far compared to the previous one.

“With the rain over the weekend, it’s calmed down quite a bit and we’re able to get in and do a direct attack, get our crews in the woods and really start digging this,” Rockwood said.

The Shelburne area has seen about 95 millimetres of rain since Friday.

Now, firefighters in the area are hoping for a pause in the rainy weather.

“Oddly enough, now we need the weather to break and give us a bit of a clear sky,” Rockwood said.

“Last week we were definitely praying for the rain… now we really need to be able to get up and get our aircraft in the air and start moving some people around by aircraft, get them into these more remote locations, we need to get back into those spots.”

Rockwood said in addition to using infrared scans and rotary wing aircraft, firefighters are doing something called “cold trailing.”

The “old fashioned” firefighting tactic involves the crew removing their gloves and touching the ground and trees to find hotspots.

“The crews are using all their senses out there to try and track down those little last sparks and embers that are out there,” Rockwood said.

 For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page Top Stories

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