Municipality says early estimate is 200 homes or structures damaged in N.S. fire


The Halifax Regional Municipality says preliminary estimates indicate approximately 200 homes or structures have been damaged by a wildfire that’s been burning in suburban Halifax.

The municipality released the estimate in a statement last night, saying it was based on initial visual inspections by first responders and that a full assessment of the damage couldn’t yet be confirmed.

Halifax deputy fire Chief David Meldrum has said an estimated 14,000 people were told to flee their homes, most of which are about a 30-minute drive northwest of downtown Halifax.

Meldrum said yesterday firefighters have concentrated on battling spot fires in residential areas in order to protect buildings and prevent the fire’s spread.

He worried that a forecast calling for strong winds, a change in wind and lower humidity today could make firefighting difficult.

The out-of-control fire started Sunday in nearby Upper Tantallon, and so far there haven’t been any reports of deaths or injuries.

“Residents are not allowed to return to their homes until they are advised that it is safe to do so by municipal authorities. Residents must remain clear of the area and refrain from filming and taking photos of the fire area, including flying personal drones,” the municipality said in its statement late Monday, adding the situation remains fluid.

It said the municipality is developing a plan to support affected residents, but it anticipated the process would take several days, or maybe longer, as fires remain active.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada and their representatives will be available to speak with affected residents at the evacuation centre, the statement noted.

Outside the Halifax region, there were seven other wildfires still burning, including the 62-square-kilometre Barrington Lake fire in Shelburne County.

Premier Tim Houston announced the province will provide $500 through the Red Cross to every household required to evacuate because of the fires in the Halifax area and Shelburne County, saying Nova Scotia is “definitely a province that is on edge right now.”