As a more-than 800-hectare wildfire continues to burn in the Halifax area, police are warning the public about a suspicious call reported Wednesday.
Halifax Regional Police said a member of the public said they had received a call saying the fire was in their area. They were asked to call back and leave a message.
While police have described the situation as a potential evacuation scam, HRP spokesperson Const. John MacLeod said it’s unclear what motivated the call.
“It’s a little odd,” MacLeod said. “We’re still just looking into it now to see exactly what happened, but we didn’t want to let it sit, given the circumstances.”
Halifax Regional Police stressed that people will not receive individual calls asking them to evacuate their homes. Evacuation orders come from emergency alerts through proper government channels. In some circumstances or urgent safety, first responders may go door-to-door to notify residents.
MacLeod said police wanted to “take the opportunity to remind people of where the appropriate messaging would come from.”
He said “it could have been” a prank call, but the incident remains under investigation.
The fire in the Tantallon and Hammonds Plains area measured 837 hectares as of Wednesday morning.
Since it broke out Sunday, the fire has destroyed more than 200 structures, 150 of which are homes, and forced the evacuation of more than 16,000 people.
The Nova Scotia RCMP also warned of potential scams related to the wildfire Wednesday. It said relief is being administered through the Canadian Red Cross.
“If you receive a text message, email or phone call about financial relief, it is likely a scam,” RCMP said in a tweet.