Halifax-area wildfire 85% contained and not expected to spread, officials say
Residents cautioned that areas under evacuation order likely to stay that way for Saturday
If the power or data on your device is low, get your wildfire updates on CBC Lite. It's our low-bandwidth, text-only website.
A wildfire burning northwest of Halifax is now 85 per cent contained, as Nova Scotia is getting much-needed rain Saturday.
Speaking at a news briefing Saturday, Dave Steeves, a technician of forest resources with the Department of Natural Resources, said the fire hasn't grown and is still about 950 hectares in size.
"This fire is at a state of being held," Steeves said. "We are confident that the fire is not going to make any forward progress."
"We are not out of the woods yet. ... we still have a lot of work to do. But this weather has brought us a bit of a reprieve."
Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Deputy Chief Dave Meldrum said crews are grateful for the light rain.
"This rain has assisted our firefighters in the field and we're glad to have it," he said.
The rain brings a risk for firefighters going through brush to locate hotspots. Meldrum said slips and falls are possible and there will be an adjustment to cooler conditions after days of intense heat.
"It's amazing how things change," he said. "They welcome the rain, but now today, they face additional hazards," he said.
Some residents who had been evacuated from the area were allowed to return home on Friday, including those on Lucasville Road, St. George Boulevard and in the Stillwater Lake area.
On Saturday around 1 p.m., the municipality said residents of the Farmers Dairy Lane and Lucasville areas no longer need to be prepared to evacuate.
More information about evacuation orders can be found here.
Meldrum said he doesn't anticipate any other evacuation orders to be lifted on Saturday.
"I just ask our residents to please be patient," he said. "We know you're not in your home. You want to be in your home. We're working as fast as we can. We're going to make sure that when you come home you have a safe, livable community to return to."
A media release from HRM at 5 p.m. Saturday said the municipality is continuing to assess conditions before updating evacuation orders.
"Residents may not be able to return to the area of significant impact for 10-14 days," the release said.
Speaking at a 5 p.m. news briefing, Meldrum said 10,224 people in the area have been displaced.
"If we could declare this fire under control and out today, there's still many, many things that need to be done to make a community safe."
Steeves said any additional resources will be heading down to Shelburne County, where a massive wildfire is burning.
Local state of emergency extended
The Halifax Regional Municipality declared a seven-day local state of emergency Sunday night in order to access additional support. That order has been extended until June 9 at 4:30 p.m., unless otherwise lifted or extended.
Late Friday, the municipality said some resources were no longer required.
The comfort centre at the Beaver Bank-Kinsac Community Centre has closed, and the Canada Games Centre has transitioned from a 24-hour evacuation centre to a comfort centre.
- Canada Games Centre | 26 Thomas Raddall Drive will operate as a comfort centre from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.
- Black Point and Area Community Centre | 8579 St. Margarets Bay Road will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.
According to a release, Nova Scotia Health's mobility primary care clinic is hosting a drop-in clinic at the Canada Games Centre on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Major insurance companies will be available to speak with affected residents on Saturday at the Canada Games Centre. Future opportunities to speak with representatives will be available in the coming days.