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Shelburne County wildfire still out-of-control, grows to 19,000 hectares

An out-of-control wildfire in Nova Scotia’s Shelburne County has grown to 19,000 hectares.

It occupied about 10,300 hectares Tuesday morning.

Dave Rockwood, with the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables (DNRR), said his crew was stationed near Barrington Lake, about roughly seven kilometres north of the community of Barrington.

A thermal scan early Tuesday morning showed the fire grew slightly overnight, Rockwood said, adding weather is not helping.

“We’ve had to pull our crews from areas of concern,” said Rockwood in an interview with CTV News. “We’ve been relying heavily on our aircraft to do the work.”

Crews are working to protect structures and keep the fire away from “critical infrastructure,” Rockwood said.

About 2,000 residents have be told to evacuate their homes.

Rockwood says he wants evacuees to know, “We’re working as hard as we can to get them home.”

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, according to the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office.

A shift in wind direction pushed smoke towards the town of Shelburne. Air quality issues forced residents of a seniors home to be moved our and taken to Acadia University.

Steven Ryer, from Clyde River, about 20 kilometres southwest of Shelburne, says he isn’t sure if his home is still standing. He says information is hard to come by.

“Nobody knows anything,” Ryer told CTV News. “I’ve had elderly people from our community calling me looking to me for answers and I don’t know what to tell them. I’ve contacted our local MLA and they don’t really know what to tell us.”

This yellow helicopter has been contracted by the province to help with the fire. (Jonathan MacInnis/CTV Atlantic)

Premier Tim Houston said he understands the frustration but all efforts are focused on putting fires out and saving as many homes as possible.

Fifty DNRR firefighters, including an incident management team, are on site Tuesday as well as several dozen volunteer firefighters.

Two water bombers from Newfoundland and Labrador were in the air along with two helicopters from DNRR and two that were privately contracted.

Smoke from a wildfire in Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, is pictured on May 29, 2023. (@NS_DNRR/Twitter)

When asked if Nova Scotia needs its own fleet of bombers, Houston said, “We have the helicopters who can drop. We have access to them, so we’ll look at doing what we can to support the firefighters in this province.”

Nova Scotia has seen 183 wildfires in 2023.

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

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