Thousands evacuated, schools closed as 2 out-of-control wildfires rage in Nova Scotia

Tribune Content Agency

Nova Scotia in eastern Canada was under a state of emergency Monday as two out-of-control wildfires caused power outages, destroyed homes and forced thousands of residents to evacuate.

The Halifax Regional Municipality declared a seven-day state of emergency and the government of Nova Scotia province said it would give $500 per household to help evacuees, administered through the Canadian Red Cross.

“Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by these fires,” Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said in a statement.

“We know you are experiencing uncertainty and distress. We see that and want to try to ease a small portion of the financial stress. This funding can help with urgent needs such as food and personal care items while people are displaced.”

Two wildfires were raging, one about 20 miles southwest of Halifax in the city of Tantallon, measured at about 1,947 acres. A second, much larger wildfire in Barrington Lake, Shelburne County, had reached nearly 15,500 acres by midafternoon Monday.

A burn ban was put in place across the province until June 25 “because of the seriousness of the current fires,” the province stated.

At least 16,400 people in several Tantallon communities had to evacuate, with comfort centers set up to accommodate them, Halifax officials said. Thousands more in a surrounding emergency area were told to pack a go-bag and be poised to flee if needed.

In Shelburne County, about 160 miles southwest of Halifax, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Monday that about 1,500 people had been evacuated from 450 homes. Some structures had been destroyed, but there was no final count, the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables said.

The fire was expected to grow, with flames shooting as high as 200 feet and winds gusting at 25 to 30 mph.

“Down in Barrington we’ve been fighting hot, dry, windy conditions since Friday, and so that is the main contributing factor to why these fires are growing,” renewables department forest protection manager Scott Tingley told CBC News.