More than 1,000 residents in the Porters Lake area of Nova Scotia were asked to leave their homes Saturday as crews battle a large brush fire east of Halifax.
“It’s a fire out of control, and we have helicopters and personnel trying to contain it right now,” Jim Rudderham acting manager for forest protection in Nova Scotia, said late Saturday afternoon.
Rudderham said they responded to the brush fire, which began just north of Highway 107, around 12:30 p.m. AT.
It then hopped the road and headed south towards the Atlantic coast, but “there’s a lot of land in between there,” he said.
Since the conditions are so dry and windy, Rudderham said they requested more resources, including helicopters and help from Halifax Fire.
Just after 4 p.m., Rudderham said three helicopters from the Department of Lands and Forestry were helping pour water on the blaze, which had grown to about 40 hectares.
In a release just after 4:30 p.m. local time, Halifax Fire said people should avoid the evacuation areas around Highway 107, and south along West Porters Lake Road to Marjorie Drive and Capri Drive, as they are closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
The current evacuation area impacts more than 1,000 residents, and includes residents on Candy Mountain Road in nearby Mineville, N.S. who are being asked to be prepared to leave.
The evacuation perimeter may need to be expanded, the release said, depending on the status of the fire.
Halifax Fire district Chief Brad Connors said the department got a call about a brush fire around 12:20 p.m. between Highway 107 and West Porters Lake Road.
Connors said the wind had picked up speed after Halifax Fire arrived on scene to help provincial Lands and Forestry crews.
He said everything’s pretty dry right now so the blaze has a lot of fuel and it’s “spreading rapidly.” There are burn restrictions in place for the entire province.
RCMP Sgt. Brian Cameron said Highway 107 was closed between Exit 18 and Exit 20 due to the fire.
He confirmed the RCMP has been asked to help with evacuations along West Porters Lake Road. The RCMP said anyone who needs to leave will be contacted directly.
Environment Canada put out a special air quality statement just after 2 p.m. local time for those in Halifax Metro and Halifax County West due to smoke in the area.
A forest fire near Chester Grant, N.S., that erupted Friday evening covered about 27 hectares and razed at least two buildings.
Crews returned to the area at first light on Saturday to continue their work on the fire, which had slowed down to the point where there were no open flames and only hot spots were being put out.
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