Nova Scotia forest fires contained, except for Seven Mile Lake one
About a dozen forest fires have been reported in the province since last week
All forest fires in Nova Scotia are contained, excluding the massive Seven Mile Lake blaze that is contained at 45 per cent, said the Natural Resources department in an update at 8 p.m. Thursday.
For the fires that are contained, it said some are being patrolled because conditions are dry.
The dry weather prompted the province's Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines to say on Thursday that the province needs "sustained rain."
Praying for rain
He noted the long-term forecast for the month of August is expected to feature a lot of dry weather.
"In the condition that we're in with the forests so darn dry, we depend on nature to help us," said Hines.
The fire at Seven Mile Lake in Annapolis County spread to 377 hectares overnight, the Department of Natural Resources said Thursday morning. It has quadrupled in size since Saturday and is the largest fire in the province.
Early Thursday, the Seven Mile Lake fire was 35 per cent contained. It is one of about a dozen forest fires that have been reported in Nova Scotia since last week.
Meanwhile, a veteran Annapolis Royal firefighter says some of those recent wildfires appear to have been started intentionally.
Malcolm Francis, a fire chief with 37 years of firefighting experience, and his team have responded to multiple blazes in the past week. He said he noticed similarities that suggest not all the fires occurred by chance.
Forest fires affecting air quality
Air tankers continue to attack the Seven Mile Lake fire from above, and the Trunk 8 road remains closed due to the active water bombing, the department said.
The ban on most travel and activities within the woods remains.
Beaches and provincial parks across the province are open to the public. But trail systems that go into wooded areas are restricted and the fire ban remains in effect.
Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement affecting Antigonish, Guysborough, Hants, Annapolis, Lunenburg, Queens and Kings counties. Halifax residents are also reporting smelling smoke from the wildfires.
Emergency officials are cautioning against calling 911 about smelling smoke because "there is a strong likelihood what they are in fact seeing and smelling is residue from the fires in southwestern Nova Scotia."