Fire near popular walking trail in Cole Harbour contained
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Published Monday, June 11, 2018 7:51AM ADT
Last Updated Monday, June 11, 2018 3:16PM ADT
COLE HARBOUR, N.S. -- Officials say a large blaze that forced the evacuation of homes near a popular hiking trail in Cole Harbour, N.S., has been contained.
Deputy fire Chief Roy Hollett said there were several flare-ups early Monday that came within roughly 400 metres of homes near the Salt Marsh Trail about a half hour outside Halifax.
The fire, which was originally reported at about 4:15 p.m. Sunday, had become dormant overnight but sparked up again.
Hollett said the fire came within about 100 metres of homes Sunday, prompting an initial evacuation.
On Monday morning, between 10 and 20 homes in the area on Astral Drive were under a mandatory evacuation order that originally applied to roughly 85 homes, though it was lifted for most of them by about 9 p.m. Sunday.
Those evacuees were allowed to return home by Monday afternoon, as the province's Natural Resources Department announced the fire was 90 to 100 per cent contained.
"We wouldn't lift the evacuation unless we were comfortable nothing else was going to happen," said Hollett.
It's estimated that the fire covered an area of about 20 hectares of forested land that was littered with brush from previous storms, making it harder to both access and to fight. Hollett said a lack of snow this winter also left little precipitation in the ground.
Because the fire was deep inside the woods, crews had to haul hoses about three kilometres before being able to fight sections of the blaze.
It wasn't yet clear what may have started the fire, but Hollett said he was comfortable saying the cause was not weather-related.
"The (statistics) show that the majority -- 98 per cent of fires in this area -- are human-caused, whereas out west, it's a high percentage of lightning strikes," said Hollett.
Department of Natural Resources personnel were expected to be on site for several days.
Environment Canada had issued a special air quality statement, saying residents downwind of the fire may experience smoke and elevated pollution.