Nova Scotia declares state of emergency over 'aggressive' wildfires
The state of emergency is set to last for a week, and with no rainfall expected soon, local officials are hoping that winds will push the fire backwards.
Wildfires in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia have ravaged buildings and forced 14,000 people to flee their homes, prompting local officials to declare a state of emergency.
So far, no injuries have been reported and the cause behind the fire is still unknown.
Halifax fire deputy chief, David Meldrum, told reporters, “Our firefighters worked very hard in very dangerous conditions," adding that the affected community of Tantallon was “ongoing and still not under control”.
The “really hot, really fast” blaze turned into a five-alarm blaze, “which is the first use of a fifth alarm that many of us can remember”, according to Meldrum, who added that the number of destroyed structures remains unclear.
The state of emergency is set to last for a week, and with no rainfall expected soon, local officials are hoping that winds will push the fire backwards, but said that “significant fire” could still be a threat with unburned fuels in the area igniting.
Another fire blaze started near the community of Yarmouth, which “escaped containment” and doubled in size, growing to 6,270 hectares due to strong winds and dry conditions. Per officials, two helicopters, six air tankers and heavy equipment from neighbouring New Brunswick are in use to control the fires.
'A lot of work to do'
Dry forests and frequent wildfires in Nova Scotia are relatively rare, as the largest blaze to ever hit the province was back in 1976 - 10 miles wide destroying nearly 13,000 hectares. More than 1 million hectares in Alberta have burned so far just this year.
On Monday, Meldrum assured that the primary aim of fire crews was to preserve as many structures as possible.
“We have a lot of work to do today, this week, for many days,” Meldrum said Monday.
"This is difficult, and residents must be prepared to remain out of their homes for several days, at least.”
Western Canada has been regularly battered by extreme weather in recent years, the strength and frequency of which have risen owing to global warming.
Forest fires in Canada's oil sands area halted production and displaced 100,000 Fort McMurray residents in 2016, in addition to wreaking havoc on the country's economy.
More recently, in 2021, the westernmost British Columbia province had record-breaking summer temperatures that killed over 500 people, as well as wildfires that devastated a community.