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2 Nova Scotia forest fires ‘looking favourable’ on Saturday, official says

Click to play video: 'Follow burn bans and warnings, N.S. officials say as wildfires blaze' Follow burn bans and warnings, N.S. officials say as wildfires blaze
Summer is still more than a month away, but wildfire crews are already dealing with large-scale forest fires in Nova Scotia. Weather conditions have been working against them and the message from the front lines of firefighting is clear: the public needs to adhere to burn bans and warnings. Alexa MacLean reports – May 13, 2022

The Department of Natural Resources says there are no active flames as of 1:30 p.m. on Saturday in either of the two fires that ravaged Nova Scotia’s forests.

The first fire located in the area of South Horseshoe Lake began burning on Monday afternoon. It is now estimated to cover just over 3,100 hectares — or about 31 square kilometres, larger than the area of the Halifax peninsula.

David Steeves, a technician of forest resources with DNR, says the Yarmouth-area fire is the biggest on record for the province.

Read more: ‘You could see flames shooting up:’ Crews battling forest fire on outskirts of Halifax

After a week of battling a spreading fire, Steeves said he finally received some good news on Saturday morning. The fire had reached 100 per cent containment, he said.

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“That doesn’t mean they’ve got a hose lying around the entire perimeter, but the entire fire perimeter may have burned up to a road or a swamp,” Steeves said.

“The weather that they’re receiving down there is aiding in efforts.”

The 3,100-hectare forest fire in the Yarmouth, N.S. area is 100 per cent contained as of Saturday morning. Department of Natural Resources and Renewables

As of early Saturday afternoon, there are two helicopters on site responding to that fire.

There are also 11 incident management teams, 21 DNR staff and “numerous” volunteer firefighters. The water bomber that was aiding in efforts Friday had been released due to progress made.

According to Steeves, crews are “very confident they should be able to make significant progress today.”

This morning, they began the “mop up” process, which Steeves said involves a lot of patrolling and searching for any remaining ambers under rocks or moss where flames could pop up.

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“This is the most important portion of the suppression effort,” he said.

While there are no active flames at the moment, that could change quickly if conditions change.

Read more: ‘You could see flames shooting up:’ Crews battling forest fire on outskirts of Halifax

The second fire burning in Chaplin, on the outskirts of Halifax, is about 70 per cent contained as of 2 p.m. The forest fire is covering about 60 hectares of land — up from 20 hectares reported Friday night.

Steeves said he spent the morning in that area and though the fire had spread fast, things were “looking favourable” on Saturday.

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There were about 15 DNR personnel and two DNR fire trucks on site. There are also three apparatus from HRM fire with their operators, he said.

The “mop up” process in this area hasn’t begun yet, as the fire burned deep.

“We are patrolling diligently,” Steeves said. “Some of the ground there is difficult, it’s very thick. This is what we refer to as a dirty burn.”

It can be a dangerous situation for responders, but crews are taking it seriously, he said. It could be some time before the Chaplin fire is declared to be out.

Though there are no active flames at the moment, temperatures are rising in the area.

Click to play video: 'Follow burn bans and warnings, N.S. officials say as wildfires blaze' Follow burn bans and warnings, N.S. officials say as wildfires blaze
Follow burn bans and warnings, N.S. officials say as wildfires blaze – May 13, 2022

Steeves is pleading for Nova Scotians to be aware of burning restrictions in the province.

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“We don’t put these into place to ruin somebody’s weekend or a family barbecue. They’re in place for a greater purpose of public safety.”

He added a lot of math and science goes into those restrictions and they are there for a reason.

“If people have any questions, please call your local Natural Resources Renewables office and we’d be happy to talk to you about the current situation,” he said.

There is no burning allowed in Nova Scotia on Saturday.

 

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