Crews battle large forest fire near Salt Marsh Trail in Cole Harbour, N.S.

Click to play video: 'Large forest fire forces evacuation in Cole Harbour' Large forest fire forces evacuation in Cole Harbour
A fire that the Department of Natural Resources estimates has burned between 6-8 hectares has triggered a mandatory evacuation for some Cole Harbour residents. Alexa MacLean reports – Jun 10, 2018

Fire crews have been battling a large forest fire on Sunday evening near a popular hiking trail in Cole Harbour, N.S.

Halifax Fire said about 20 acres of forest land was on fire near the Salt Marsh Trail, and the wind was “not in their favour.”

RCMP have some streets in the area of Bissett Road blocked to traffic.

About 100 homes on Astral Drive and Beaver Crescent were evacuated on a voluntary basis as a result of the blaze.

By 9 p.m., Halifax Fire said they were comfortable allowing residents from Beaver Crescent back into their homes, but said they may need to be evacuated again at a moment’s notice.

“But Astral Drive from Lakeridge Crescent down to the cul de sac on Astral will remain evacuated for the evening,” said Halifax Fire Division Chief Erica Fleck.

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A Tweet from Halifax Fire said 10 to 15 homes on Astral Drive are part of their recommended evacuation zone.

Halifax FIre added they will have fire patrols throughout the residential neighbourhoods overnight to ensure safety.

Cole Harbour Place was opened to those who left their homes as a result of the fire.

As well, Halifax Ground Search and Rescue has been activated to help RCMP if there is a need for more evacuations.

As of 8 p.m., the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says they have about 20 personnel on scene and the municipality has 65.

Residents who live in the area say they are very concerned about the conditions.

“It is all wooded and of course we had a few different storms come through 10 years or more ago and there’s a lot of deadwood laying on the ground so there’s a lot of deadwood that needs to be cleaned up if it’s just sitting there waiting to burn,” said Tony Babineau, who lives in the fire in Colby Village.

Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement as a result of the fire. The statement said residents down wind of the fire may experience smoke and elevated pollution.

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“Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk,” the statement said.

According to DNR, the cold weather expected tonight is expected to slow the fire “significantly.” Crews won’t be able to work during the night, but will return at daybreak if necessary.

With files from Alexa MacLean

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