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Halifax-area wildfire 50 per cent contained as crews deal with record heat in forecast

A wildfire that began burning in the Upper Tantallon, N.S., area Sunday and forced the evacuation of thousands of residents is now 50 per cent contained.

Dave Steeves with the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables said that Thursday’s heat and low humidity made for a challenging day of firefighting in the Tantallon area.

“That is giving way to some relatively extreme forest fire activity. Our crews are busy chasing flare ups and smokes,” Steeves said during Thursday afternoon’s news conference, adding that crews are focused on protecting structures in the area.

Three firefighters with Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency work to put out fires in the Tantallon-area. (Courtesy: Communications Nova Scotia)

Bob Robichaud, meteorologist with Environment Canada, said “today was the day we were worried about” due to the high temperatures in the low 30s C.

The meteorologist said these conditions lead to something called “crossover,” which is when the temperature is higher in degrees celsius than the relative per cent humidity. This is considered an indicator of extremely high fire risk.

“We are seeing a number of locations where that is happening today across the province,” Robichaud said.

While weather is expected to remain warm overnight, Friday is expected to bring humidity and cooler air.

“In terms of rainfall, which we really, really need right now, there could be some showers developing in the afternoon hours,” Robichaud said.

Sustained rainfall is not expected until Friday afternoon.

"If we can get past this period, we have some precipitation on the way that we're looking forward to, so our fingers are crossed that we're going to receive that precipitation and help us a little bit. We need Mother Nature to get on side with us,” Steeves said.

Halifax Fire deputy chief David Meldrum said the rain is only one variable at play in the decision to allow people to return to their homes.

Residents of the Indigo Shores area were allowed back to their homes Wednesday night after an evacuation order was rescinded.

“We will open more,” Meldrum said. “But we will do it in a controlled manner, and in a manner that ensures the safety of our residents.”

Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency firefighter Zach Rafuse from Port Williams works to put out fires in the Tantallon, N.S. area. (Courtesy: Communications Nova Scotia)

Meldrum added fire officials have completed their audit of the damaged and destroyed buildings in the Tantallon area, though he did not have exact numbers Thursday morning.

He also stressed the importance of residents registering with 311 so municipal staff can get in contact with them with information about their homes.

As of Thursday afternoon, firefighters on scene include 40 from DNRR, six from Prince Edward Island, 117 from the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and nine from Department of National Defence.

DNRR says there are also three helicopters and one water bomber from Newfoundland and Labrador.


Evacuation orders are still in place for residents in the following communities:

  • Westwood subdivision, Upper Tantallon
  • Whitehills subdivision, Hammonds Plains
  • Highland Park subdivision, Yankeetown
  • Haliburton Hills
  • Pockwock Road
  • Glen Arbour
  • Lucasville Road to Sackville Drive
  • Maplewood
  • Voyageur Way
  • St George Boulevard, including all side streets
  • McCabe Lake area

An updated evacuation map for the Halifax-area due to wildfires. (Source: Halifax Regional Municipality)


The Canada Games Centre evacuation centre at 26 Thomas Raddall Dr. is open until further notice.

Nova Scotia Health’s mobility primary care clinic is hosting another drop-in clinic at the center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The HRM says major insurance companies will again be available to speak with affected residents from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


The following comfort centres are open Thursday:

  • Black Point and Area Community Centre at 8579 St Margarets Bay Rd. will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Beaver Bank Kinsac Community Centre at 1583 Beaver Bank Rd. will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.


The Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) says the following schools are closed Thursday:

  • Bay View High School
  • Tantallon Junior Elementary
  • Tantallon Senior Elementary
  • Five Bridges Junior High
  • St. Margaret’s Bay Elementary
  • Kingswood Elementary
  • Charles P. Allen High School
  • Basinview Drive Community School
  • Bedford South School
  • Harry R. Hamilton Elementary
  • Millwood Elementary
  • Millwood High School
  • Sackville Heights Elementary
  • Sackville Heights Junior High

HRCE also says Hammonds Plains Consolidated and Madeline Symonds Middle School will remain closed for the rest of the week.


As of 9 a.m. Thursday, more than 3,000 Nova Scotia Power customers in the Upper Tantallon and Hammonds Plains areas remain without electricity.


The HRM says the following Halifax Transit routes continue to be affected Thursday:

  • Route 330 will start and end at Sheldrake Lake -- 3826 St Margarets Bay Rd. There will be no service to the Tantallon Park and Ride located at 3664 Hammonds Plains Rd.
  • Route 433 will start and end at the West Bedford Park and Ride located at 120 Innovation Dr. There will be no service on Hammonds Plains Road from Gary Martin Drive to Tantallon Park and Ride.
  • Route 83/183 will end on Crossfield Ridge in Middle Sackville, N.S. The HRM says the bus will then turn right on Sackville Drive and right onto Melham Drive. Routes 83/183 will hold on Melham Drive before departing, heading back to the Sackville Transit Terminal at 7 Walker Ave.


The Nova Scotia government continues to update its new webpage with the latest emergency alerts and resource information about wildfires in the province. 

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

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