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Shelburne County Evacuees wonder if their homes are standing

As wildfires rage across Shelburne County, many evacuees question whether their homes are still standing.

“The level of stress and anxiety is overwhelming at times,” said Trudy Peterson.

“You can’t focus on that but when you do, it’s like you’re living somebody else’s life.” She said.

Firefighters are trying to tame three large wildfires—the largest is Barrington Lake fire, which as of mid-Thursday afternoon was more than 20,000 hectares.  

The latest fire started Wednesday afternoon near Sandy Point, prompting evacuations, including 15 inpatients at Roseway Hospital.

As of Thursday, RCMP spokesperson said about 5,500-5,600 people have had to flee. That’s about 40 per cent of Shelburne County’s population.

As water bombers attack the fire from the air, Debbie Nickerson and her husband sat in their truck along highway 103, watching and wondering about their home.

The two live one minute away from where fire destroyed a bridge on Port Clyde Road in Clyde River.

“I’m afraid we may not have our house there,” said Nickerson.

Her concern matches hundreds of people across Shelburne County.  

“We’re literally in a battle for our lives, and for our properties and for our homes,” said Shaun Hatfield, a councillor for the municipality of Barrington.

Hatfield said one thing that’s bigger than the fire is people’s love of community and family.

“We are standing together and supporting each other in the best ways we can during this time and we’re not going to go down without a good fight,” said Hatfield.

While some know they’ve lost their homes, cottages, or both, many are like

Trudy Peterson. She has no idea.  

“It makes you feel sick,” said Peterson. She was forced to run from the fire twice.

“My heart goes out to all the people out there who already lost their homes,” Peterson said. “I could be in that boat too, I don’t know yet.”

As water bombers fight the fire from the air, crews on the ground are building lines around the fires to contain them.

“Again they’re not guaranteed stops but it’s going to give us a whole lot better chance,” said Rockwood.

Besides the local crews, DNR firefighters and air support from both New Brunswick and Newfoundland are on the way.  

 “Really happy to hear that our 20 pack is back from the NWT. They’re inbound right now and they’re going to be right on the line early this afternoon and working, pounding away and really happy to hear we have 17 of our American neighbours coming in,” said Rockwood. Top Stories

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