Nova Scotia

Forest fire in Chester Grant now contained

A forest fire near Chester Grant, N.S., that erupted Friday evening is now contained. The fire reached about 27 hectares in size by Saturday and razed at least two buildings to the ground.

14 fire departments, provincial wildfire crews tackled the blaze

Nova Scotia's Department of Lands and Forestry said the fire started around 4:30 p.m. on Friday. RCMP, 20 fire departments and two Lands and Forestry helicopters responded to the blaze. Two unknown structures were destroyed in the fire. 1:15

A forest fire near Chester Grant, N.S., that erupted Friday evening is now contained, according to the province's Lands and Forestry department.

The fire covered an area of about 27 hectares and razed at least two buildings to the ground.

Crews returned to the area at first light on Saturday to continue fighting the forest fire. They had suspended their efforts overnight. 

"It's pretty quiet there this morning, or quieter than last night," Jim Rudderham, acting manager for forest protection in Nova Scotia, said late Saturday morning. "No open flames, just hot spots to be put out."

Most firefighters left the scene just after 9 p.m. Friday, after putting out "a large part of the fire," according to the Department of Lands and Forestry.

Provincial wildfire crews were rejoined on the scene Saturday by 14 fire departments, water supply tankers and Lands and Forestry staff.

One of the two provincial helicopters helping on Friday was no longer on scene.

No homes were evacuated, but the Lands and Forestry representative said in an email that two unknown structures were destroyed.

Fire able to grow under hot, windy conditions

Rudderham said a main challenge fighting the fire on Friday was that the conditions were very warm, windy, and dry — all factors that allow fires to grow quickly and make them hard to contain. 

"This morning they're there to try to eliminate all they can, so that when it gets the same again this afternoon ... that doesn't get bigger again," he said.

However, Rudderham said he was "quite confident" that crews would have the fire contained Saturday morning before the day heated up again.

He said local residents worried about the fire coming closer to their homes should not have to "worry about anything."

People were asked to avoid the area.

A Nova Scotia Lands and Forestry helicopter flies over a forest fire in the Chester Grant area on Friday evening. (David Laughlin/CBC)

On Saturday morning, RCMP said just before 10:30 a.m. that Highway 12 near Chester Grant was closed northbound at Exit 9 due to the fire. 

Southbound traffic was diverted at Chester Grant Road.

A spokesperson for Lands and Forestry has said the fire started around 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

RCMP, 20 fire departments and two Lands and Forestry helicopters originally responded to the blaze.

On Friday, fire restrictions and burn bans were in effect throughout the whole province.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

Neighbour 'stressed' to be beside forest fire

Chester Grant resident Maryann Millett lives about 1.5 kilometres north of Forest Heights Community School on Highway 12. 

Millett said her husband first spotted the smoke Friday, and the fire was burning between their home and the school.

Her grandchildren were with her at the time, and they all felt "pretty stressed" by the nearby blaze.

"It was windy and warm and the earth is so dry right now. So we were very pleased when we finally heard the fire trucks coming, but very scared when we saw the number of them," Millett said Saturday morning.

She had watched trucks pull up to the fire pond across the road throughout Friday evening to gather water, but on Saturday morning there were no trucks and no smoke to be seen in her area.

"I am quite stressed this morning because I'm wondering exactly the status of fire, if it has been blown back in our direction," Millett said.

Millett said she'd heard the wind had been pushing the fire south, away from her home toward Chester Basin but did not know how far it had travelled or any other details.

Her family is nervously waiting to find out if any woodland they own in the area was burned off by the fire, Millett said, but they had not gone to look since they didn't want to get in the way of any fire crews.

With files from Blair Sanderson

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