Shelburne County wildfire out of control, about 1,500 evacuated
Roughly 450 homes have been evacuated in Shelburne County as a wildfire burns out of control over thousands of hectares.
Dale Slack, fire chief for the community of Jordan Falls, said the heat and wind has made the fire response extremely challenging.
“I don’t think you could map anything that would be any worse today than it is,” Slack said.
“It’s dry and there’s heat and we got a good wind going right now so I expect the whole day to be like this with little flare-ups here and there.”
Nova Scotia EMO says a mandatory evacuation order is in effect for all communities from Port Clyde along Highway 309 to the intersection of Oak Park Road and Highway 3 in Barrington West.
Allan Harris, one of the evacuees from the area, said he’s worried the fire is moving too quickly.
“The fire is too fast. You think it’s not, and the next thing you know you look up and it’s right there… I’m hoping the house is still going to be there but it didn’t look good when I left,” Harris said.
Highway 103 is closed between exits 27 and 29.
Cpl. Chris Marshall with the RCMP estimates between 1,200-1,500 people have been evacuated. He says that number is expected to grow. The Highway 103 closure moves from Exit 29 to Exit 30.
The fire near Barrington, N.S., is estimated at more than 6,200 hectares, Scott Tingley, a manager with the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables, told CTV News.
“It’s likely that a measured size would be a little bit bigger and we do expect it to continue to grow today,” said Tingley.
Jordan Falls and Lockport Fire Department stop to put out small fire in the woods.
He says 40 department staff and an equal number of volunteer firefighters are on site.
“We’ve got two helicopters, we have one of the Newfoundland waterbombers,” said Tingley. “We’ve also got heavy equipment from some of the local contractors giving us a hand on that one as well.”
A water bomber tops up near the Sandy Point Lighthouse as a wildfire rages in Shelburne County, N.S.
Hot and windy conditions are adding to the challenge, said Tingley.
“Folks are working really hard, they are doing a great job, but it is a large fire.”
Smoke from a wildfire in Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, on May 29, 2023. (Valentine Nkengbeza/CTV)
Several homes have burned and others are at risk, he said.
“What we’d like to see is overcast skies and rain coming down, but unfortunately there’s not a lot of that in the forecast,” CTV meteorologist Kalin Mitchell said Monday.
Very little rain is expected in Nova Scotia for the week ahead, with pockets of scattered rain forecast for Friday, Mitchell said. An area of high pressure is forecast for the province, which typically means clear and dry conditions.
Mitchell said the wind is forecast to remain gusty into Monday evening, with winds diminishing overnight.
Tuesday is forecast to have sustained winds between 10 and 20 kilometres per hour, with some gusts reaching 30 kilometres per hour. This is lighter wind than the province saw over the weekend as the wildfires spread quickly.
The Canadian Red Cross is operating two comfort centres in the area, including the Shelburne Fire Hall in Shelburne and the Barrington Municipal Building in Barrington.
EMO says a reception centre has also been established at the Sandy Wickens Memorial Arena.
Evacuees are being told to register with Barrington EMO by calling 902-637-7899.
The following schools were closed Monday due to the wildfire:
- Forest Ridge Academy
- Barrington Municipal High School
- Hillcrest Academy
- Shelburne Regional High School
The Tri-County Regional Centre for Education said students at Clark's Harbour Elementary School and Evelyn Richardson Memorial Elementary School were dismissed early due to poor air quality in the area.
Smoke from wildfire is seen in the distance at the waterfront in Shelburne, N.S. (Jonathan MacInnis/CTV)
SPECIAL AIR QUALITY STATEMENT
Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for Shelburne County.
The alert says smoke is causing, or expected to cause, poor air quality and reduced visibility in the area downwind of the fire.
For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.
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