Skip to main content

Shelburne County wildfires displace thousands, Barrington grows to 20,000 hectares


The largest wildfire in Shelburne County, N.S., covers more than 20,000 hectares.

The blaze in Barrington Lake is burning out of control and has almost doubled in size since Tuesday morning.

Forty per cent of the county, or about 5,000 people have been forced from their homes and roughly 50 structures have burned down.

More than 38 provincial firefighters are on the ground. They’re being assisted by about 40 firefighters from municipal and volunteer departments, according to Dave Rockwood, a Department of Natural Resources and Renewables (DNRR) public information officer.

“We’re happy to say we’ve been working heavy,” Rockwood said in a news conference Thursday.

It was reported Sunday and is now the largest wildfire in Nova Scotia history.

Shaun Hatfield is the councillor for the Municipality of Barrington. He is also an evacuee.

“It’s a warzone,” said Hatfield.

“I think we are literally in a battle for our lives and for our properties, for our homes, and for those things that are of very deep value to all of us as human beings.”

He said his community is standing together and supporting each other as best they can during this time.

“I’ve seen some incredibly beautiful things about human beings through this current catastrophe and disaster,” said Hatfield.

A water bomber flies overhead near Sandy Point, Shelburne County, on May 31, 2023. (Nova Scotia government)

“I’ve seen people come together in ways that are much greater and much bigger than this fire. The flame of this fire is unprecedented. But I can say this, the flame that I see in people’s hearts in this community, in terms of their coming together, people are giving whatever they have to this cause. Whether that’s hugs, whether that’s their homes, whether that’s their resources.”

DNRR has set up a base in the Shelburne-Barrington area.

Rockwood said crews have bulldozed a line of earth more than 6-kilometres long near the fire. It’s an attempt to cut the flames off and stop them from spreading.

DNRR firefighters Walter Scott (left) and and Zac Simpson battle a wildfire. (Courtesy: Communications Nova Scotia)

A second smaller fire estimated at 120 hectares was reported in Shelburne County Wednesday night. It's several kilometres away near Lake Road in the municipality of Shelburne. It’s also out-of-control. Evacuation orders are in effect there too.

There are 16 fires burning in Nova Scotia, at least two others are considered out-of-control. One, in northwest Halifax, has displaced more than 16,000 people and destroyed more than 150 homes. It’s considered 50 per cent contained at 837 hectares, but the situation remains volatile due to the heat and dry weather.

The other is in Pubnico, Yarmouth County. It covers 163 hectares.

The federal government said Thursday morning the Canadian Armed Forces is preparing to provide firefighting support to Nova Scotia, and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said that military help would start arriving "hopefully" by the end of the day.

Premier Tim Houston shared an extensive list of requests for support on Wednesday. It includes a military firefighting crew, a variety of equipment, helicopters to drop water, and 50 per cent cost-sharing for modular housing units for those who have lost their homes to the fire.

Nova Scotia has seen more than 200 wildfires in 2023.

More to come …

With files from CTV’s Lyndsay Armstrong.

For the latest Nova Scotia news, visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

Stay Connected