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'This thing has grown some teeth': Shelburne County wildfire growing, still out-of-control

The largest wildfire in Nova Scotia is growing and still out-of-control, the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables said Friday.

The wildfire in Shelburne County, about 180 kilometres southwest of Halifax, covers more than 20,500 hectares.

“This thing has grown some teeth,” said Dave Rockwood, a Department of Natural Resources and Renewables (DNRR) public information officer, in a Friday news conference.

It started in Barrington Lake Sunday and has displaced more than 5,500 people.


An emergency alert was sent out at about 4:20 p.m. Friday, issuing a mandatory evacuation order in Shelburne County for 2461 Upper Clyde Road to McGills Road (McGill Lake area of the Upper Clyde Road).

The alert stated the Barrington Lake wildfire is traveling further up the Upper Clyde Road.

Evacuees are advised to register with Shelburne EMO by calling 902-637-7899.

A comfort centre has been established at the Sandy Wickens Memorial Arena.


Groups of Department of Natural Resources and Renewables firefighters take part in a morning briefing as a wildfire continues to burn in Shelburne County, N.S. (Courtesy: Communications Nova Scotia)

Dozens of firefighters from the province and other departments and agencies are on the ground. But work is being stalled by onlookers getting too close, said Rockwood.

“We’ve had many occasions they are hindering our operations,” he said.

Aircraft can’t drop water when people are in the area of operation and structures have been lost because of it, he said.

“We need people to stay out of our area.”

He said small fires, caused by embers in the wind, have cropped up as far as five kilometres away over the last week.

Three other wildfires in Nova Scotia are considered out of control. The federal government is sending equipment and personnel to assist with firefighting efforts.

The other wildfire in the county, near Lake Road in Shelburne, is burning out-of-control over 114 hectares and is being fought by 23 DNRR firefighters.

After flying over the area Friday, Rockwood said he had a good feeling about it.

“The boys and girls in the woods … It’s almost like they’re running with those hoses.”

A DNRR crew fighting wildfires in the North West Territories was called back to Nova Scotia earlier this week and arrived in Shelburne Thursday.

“They had a quick briefing yesterday and they are on the ground boots running,” Rockwood said.

A group of American firefighters from the East Coast are expected in the province Friday, and will head down to Shelburne County.

Rockwood said officials are working on an updated number of structures lost and will share it as soon as possible.

Five helicopters and about ten planes are in the sky. Waterbombers from Montana are enroute as well.

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