Homes 'engulfed in flames' from N.S. wildfire, residents in Halifax ...

28 May 2023

A number homes went up in flames on Sunday as a Nova Scotia wildfire was rapidly moving through a section of the Halifax suburb of Tantallon and towards neighboring Hammonds Plains.

At 5:15 p.m. Sunday, an Emergency Alert was issued by the province about an evacuation order for the Westwood Hills subdivision of Tantallon due to “ongoing multiple structure and forest fires.”

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The alert noted a comfort centre had opened at Black Point Community Centre in Black Point for residents with no place to go.

In a second emergency alert issued at 6:10 p.m., it said the fire had spread into the neighbouring community of Hammonds Plains, and an evacuation order was issued for Yankeetown (Highland Park) subdivision.

“The fire in Tantallon is obviously very out of control,” Halifax Fire district Chief Rob Hebb said in an interview. “It’s jumping roads and it’s affected multiple structures.”

Hebb said the fire was quickly moving westward, driven by steady winds at 15 to 20 kilometres per hour, with gusts reported at 40 km/h.

“It’s overrunning our crews and most of them are pulling back,” he said, adding wooded areas around the port city remain tinder dry due to a lack of rain. “The plume is visible from everywhere in the Halifax region.”

Tanya Snair, who works at the community centre, said the building will be open as long as required by the province’s Emergency Management Office.

“We have water, tea, coffee, and snacks available,” she said.

There is an evacuation order for Westwood Hills subdivision, Upper Tantallon, NS due to ongoing multiple structure and forest fires. All residents in Westwood Hills ordered to evacuate. Comfort Centre is open at Black Point Community Centre, Black Point.

— Halifax Fire (@hfxfire) May 28, 2023

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RCMP said in a statement earlier Sunday afternoon that they had ordered residents to immediately evacuate their homes in the Tantallon subdivsion.

In an update from the province, the evacuation route for residents was listed from Winslow Drive to Hammonds Plains Road, which is about 30 minutes outside of the city limits.

Updated from @RCMPNS: Correction, evacuation route is via Winslow Dr. to Hammonds Plains Rd. RCMP officers and partner agencies continue to evacuate residents.

— Nova Scotia Gov. (@nsgov) May 28, 2023

“This is a rapidly moving fire with a number of homes already engulfed. Please remain away from the area to allow our officers and partner agencies to assist with evacuating residents,” police said in a follow-up tweet.

Environment Canada has since issued a special air quality statement for the Halifax region.

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“Wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone’s health even at low concentrations,” the statement read. “Everyone can take action to reduce their exposure to wildfire smoke.”

My son’s view as he tried to get home on the Hammonds Plains Road towards Tantallon. He was turned back. Evacuation route is taking us towards Highway 103. #nswildfire

— Rhonda Brown (@RhondaBrown5) May 28, 2023

Pam Lovelace, councillor for the area, said the municipality and local firefighters are “moving very quickly” to work towards containing the spread of the wildfire.

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“Throughout the evacuation, everyone is moving quite quickly and being very cooperative to leave the area,” she said. “It’s an all hands on deck so everybody gets out of their safely.”

Meanwhile, another wildfire is continuing to burn out of control and quickly spread across the southwestern tip of the province, with officials saying the arrival of hot, dry conditions is intensifying the blaze.

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A spokesperson with the province’s Department of Natural Resources says the Shelburne County fire “escaped containment” on Saturday night, growing to about 775 hectares.

Our team is coordinating with first responders as they work to address forest fires affecting #Shelburne, including Clyde River, and also in the #Tantallon area. Power has temporarily been disconnected so fire fighters can safely work. Visit for updates.

— Nova Scotia Power (@nspowerinc) May 28, 2023

Patricia Jreige says there is a growing team of firefighters, air tankers and helicopters battling the flames, but dry, hot and windy weather is making fire suppression challenging.

She says at least one remote cabin in the Barrington Lake area has been destroyed while the condition of others is unknown.

(1/3) Barrington Lake, Shelburne Co update: Wildfire still out of control & about 1354ha. Hot, dry, windy conditions are challenging. 35 DNRR firefighters, 50 vol. firefighters, 1 incident management team, heavy equipment, 2 helicopters & 6 NB air tankers onsite.

— Natural Resources and Renewables (@NS_DNRR) May 28, 2023

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Jreige says a dozen homes in the fire’s path were evacuated last night, and although some residents are returning, they may be asked to leave again.

She says more evacuations are expected, a portion of Highway 103 is closed to traffic, and power in the area may be interrupted to allow for safe operations.

— With files from the Canadian Press

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