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Reinforcements coming as battle against Nova Scotia wildfires continues

Firefighters are scouring smoking forests looking for and extinguishing any hotspots they find as wildfires continue to burn out of control in Nova Scotia.

Officials from the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables say the wind-driven Barrington Lake fire has been tossing hot embers up to five kilometres in front of the head of the fire.

“You have all that unburnt fuel in between, and when we get those situations, we get what we call bays and fingers," says DNRR information officer David Knockwood. “So in this circumstance, those are actually burning off and connecting, so almost making a more straight line in between in a lot of cases.”

Counterpunches are a combination of fire crews and heavy equipment on the ground and a bombardment of water from air tankers. Three were expected in from Montana on Friday followed by two more on Saturday. Highly trained fire crews from the United States are also en route to provide support.

“I’m expecting them to arrive in the Shubenacadie forest protection area today [Friday] and get their briefing and get distributed down to us at some point today,” Knockwood said.

An expected shift in wind direction will provide resistance.

“We’re expecting a pretty extreme wind shift and it’s going to come out of the opposite direction, pushing the fire out of the east and that’s going to test our fire break that we’ve established on the east side for Barrington protection,” says Knockwood.

The ongoing battle against the flames has been difficult on firefighters and the property owners they’re trying to protect.

“We were like, 'We need to help people, we need to find a way to do it,'” says Natalie Harlow.

She and Alyssa Adams collected items and started the “Free Store” -- a place where anyone can pick up what they need from toothpaste to t-shirts.

“This is going to be a long haul. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so we are preparing for that,” Adams says.

Jamie Goulden is going to make sure the shelves are stocked. The former resident of Shelburne put a request out on social media and residents in his new home of Clare answered the call. Truckloads of goods have come in. As for why he’s doing this, “I’m from here,” he says, holding back tears.

That’s the type of connection to the community that’s being felt by all Nova Scotians.

Argyle MLA Colton Leblanc says he’s been given a message from firefighters battling the flames.

“A heartfelt thank you for their support during these last few days, these challenging days, and it’s going to be tough days ahead with tough conditions.”

They’ll be up to the challenge with the support of so many behind them. Top Stories

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