‘For God’s sake, stop burning’: N.S. premier makes plea, sets new outdoor rules

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia wildfires: Province-wide burn ban, forest travel ban in effect'
Nova Scotia wildfires: Province-wide burn ban, forest travel ban in effect
Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston announced on Tuesday that due to the catastrophic wildfires in the province, travel and activities in the woods are banned. He also pleaded with the public to not start fires or flick cigarette butts, as there's a province-wide burn ban in effect – May 30, 2023

Nova Scotia is implementing a province-wide ban on travel and activity in the woods as wildfires rage on, the premier announced Tuesday.

“We have to do what we can to make sure we don’t have any new fires popping up,” Premier Tim Houston said during a government update on the situation from Shelburne, N.S.

The ban means no hiking, camping, fishing, hunting and use of off-highway vehicles in wooded areas as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, he said. It also applies to forestry, mining industries, and commercial activity on Crown lands, though special permits can be obtained in certain cases but that must be arranged with local NRR offices.

“We’re in a very serious situation in this province and we need to take the steps that we can to protect Nova Scotians, so we’ll do that,” Houston said.

The move comes after a wildfire ignited in the Tantallon area, about a 30-minute drive from downtown Halifax, on Sunday. The blaze has since grown to more than 750 hectares, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes.

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An exasperated Houston also pleaded with Nova Scotians to obey a province-wide burn ban after conservations officers reported six illegal burns on Monday night.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous with what’s happening in this province,” he said, speaking of the illegal burns and calling it “mind boggling.”

A helicopter carrying water flies over heavy smoke from an out-of-control fire in a suburban community outside of Halifax that spread quickly, engulfing multiple homes and forcing the evacuation of local residents on Sunday May 28, 2023.

This means residents should not start outdoor fires or flick cigarettes as the woods remain bone dry. Nova Scotia’s resources are stretched “incredibly thin fighting existing fires” and the province must protect those resources where possible, the premier added.

“For God’s sake, stop burning,” Houston said.

In wake of the devastating wildfires, Houston noted how provinces like Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island have lent a helping hand.

“People are stepping up from across the country to help us but we have to do our part too,” Houston said. “That’s why the banning in the woods, that’s why the banning of the burning and that’s why no access to the woods.”

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The premier said he was also proud to see Nova Scotians come together.

“It’s going to be a long road but we will definitely get through this,” Houston said.

with files from Global News’ Alex Cooke and The Canadian Press

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