Skip to main content

N.S. raises fines for burning to $25,000 as wildfires burn out of control

Nova Scotia has raised fines for burning to $25,000 as multiple wildfires continue to burn out of control in the province.

Despite the premier’s pleas to Nova Scotians Tuesday to “for God’s sake, stop burning,” eight illegally-lit fires were reported overnight in Halifax.

“Eight more reckless people decided to burn,” Tim Houston said Wednesday afternoon.

“I do not know what they are thinking. I just don’t get it with what’s happening in this province right now.”

The premier said if fires continue to be reported despite the newly raised fine, up to $25,000 from $237.50, his government will “do what we need to do to increase that” fine.

“The forests are just too dry. The conditions are just too volatile. We can’t accept any more risk of additional fires,” Houston said.

Erica Fleck, Halifax’s emergency management lead, said during a Wednesday evening news conference that it’s “just ridiculous” that eight fires were reported Tuesday night in the Halifax Regional Municipality alone.

“There is zero tolerance in the HRM and province-wide. We’re hurting each other right now and it needs to stop,” she said.

In Cape Breton, John Chant, chief of the Glace Bay Fire Department, said illegal fires continue to be reported.

“We're still receiving calls for backyard fires and people are burning brush around their property. We're trying to educate, but it's getting frustrating,” Chant said.  

Police in New Glasgow reported that two fires were intentionally set near the Aberdeen Hospital Tuesday afternoon.

The two fires were found within several feet of each other in the woods behind the hospital on East River Road, New Glasgow Regional Police said in a statement Wednesday.

Both fires were extinguished.


Fire in Barrington Lake, Shelburne County:

  • fire is still out of control, covering 17,186 hectares.
  •  there are 70 firefighters from the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables and more than 40 volunteer or municipal firefighters on scene. 
  • On scene there is one helicopter, two water bombers from Newfoundland and Labrador and eight airplanes from New Brunswick that disperse a mix of water and fire retardant.

Fire in Pubnico, Yarmouth County: 

  • fire is still out of control and covers 163 hectares.
  • there are 18 firefighters from the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables and more than 10 volunteer or municipal firefighters on scene.
  • three helicopters are on scene.

Fire in Westwood Hills, Tantallon:

  • fire is still out of control and is estimated at 837 hectares, the focus is on fire containment and structure protection. 
  • there are 52 firefighters from the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables, six from Prince Edward Island, 100 from Halifax Regional Municipality and nine from the Department of National Defence.
  • three helicopters on scene.

Fire in Hammonds Plains:

  • fire is about four hectares in size and is 80 per cent contained.
  • there are 10 firefighters from the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables, three from the Department of National Defence and 11 volunteer or municipal firefighters. 
  • there is one helicopter on scene.
  • this is a rapidly moving fire, Halifax has notified residents to be prepared to evacuate with 30 minutes notice.

In addition to the burning ban, Nova Scotians are also prohibited from spending time in the woods until at least June 25.

“Well it’s sad, but I think people understand the seriousness of the situation on the mainland,” said Laurie Murchison, chair of the Coxheath Hills Wilderness Recreation Association in Cape Breton.

Hiking, fishing, camping, and ATVing are all off limits. 

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

Tragedy in real time: The Armenian exodus from Nagorno-Karabakh

For the past five days, vehicles laden with refugees have poured into Armenia, fleeing from the crumbling enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in neighbouring Azerbaijan. In a special report for, journalist Neil Hauer recounts what it's like on the ground in Armenia.

Stay Connected