Canadian Underwriter

Dry conditions in Nova Scotia fuelling three large wildfires

May 27, 2020   by THE CANADIAN PRESS

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HALIFAX – Provincial officials in Nova Scotia are warning about the potential for forest fires in dry, humid conditions as firefighters battle three significant wildfires across the province.

The fires burning Tuesday follow a weekend blaze near Porters Lake east of Halifax that prompted the temporary evacuation of about 1,000 residents. That fire was under control and was still being patrolled for hot spots.

“These three fires today are all in remote areas with no homes nearby,” Jim Rudderham, acting manager of forest protection for the Department of Lands and Forestry, told reporters.

Rudderham said provincial fire and air crews were battling flames ravaging forested areas near Frankville in Antigonish County, near Alton Road in the Springfield area of Kings County, and near Argyle in Yarmouth County.

The Frankville fire was being fought by 22 provincial wildfire crewmembers, a helicopter and 31 volunteer firefighters.

Rudderham said that fire was estimated to be about 148 hectares in size and was about 50 per cent contained as of Tuesday afternoon, although it is considered to be out of control.

The Springfield fire was estimated to be about 120 hectares and is 40 per cent contained, while the Argyle fire was estimated to be about 30 to 50 hectares and is considered under control.

Rudderham said weather conditions in the Yarmouth area were assisting the battle against the flames.

“That fire is remote and is only accessible by air,” he said. “With the fog and rain (Tuesday), we feel pretty good about the fire in Yarmouth.”

Another wildfire that crews responded to on Monday in Grand Mira South in Cape Breton was also under control and being patrolled for hot spots on Tuesday.

Although no cause has been determined for the latest fires, Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin said it was a good opportunity to warn people that a provincial burn ban is in effect.

“Human cause is, the majority of the time, what’s happening here,” said Rankin. “The smallest spark can move with the wind fairly quickly.”

According to the department, Nova Scotia has an average of 225 wildfires each season.

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