Nova Scotia crews hit wildfire 'hard as we can with everything we got'

By The Canadian Press
August 9, 2016 - 2:59pm

HALIFAX — Fire crews are desperately holding back an out-of-control wildfire near Kejimkujik National Park, trying to keep it from growing ahead of hotter, windier weather expected to make the task even more difficult.

"What we are doing is hitting it hard as we can with everything we got to keep it from growing," Jim Rudderham, the province's operations manager for forest protection, said Tuesday night.

"It's the biggest effort to put out a fire since I've been a supervisor here. It's big."

The wildfire, in the Seven Mile Lake area, grew 100 hectares overnight Monday to roughly 240 hectares, but the more than 50 people on the front lines had been able to keep it from growing further, Rudderham said.

"Hopefully the weather will turn and we can gain on this fire. (But) tomorrow's supposed to be a nicer day. That's bad for us," he said.

Rudderham said forecasters predicted a "clothesline day" for Wednesday — low humidity, lots of sun, and brisk winds.

"That's the worst thing you have fighting a fire."

There is no threat to communities "yet," and Kejimkujik park is not currently in danger, he said.

The province Tuesday began restricting activity within forests such as hiking, camping and fishing in a bid to keep more bone-dry woods from going up in flames.

The Natural Resources department says smaller fires that were burning in Maitland Bridge, Greenfield, and Collingwood have all been contained, while a blaze at Perch Lake, in northeastern Nova Scotia, was "being held back by crews and remains at 80 per cent contained."

A new fire was reported in West Dalhousie, but "we hit that fire hard," and it's contained, Rudderham said.

Crews had to be removed from the Seven Mile Lake area late Monday afternoon for their safety as water bombers kept dousing the blaze, but no further evacuations were necessary Tuesday, he said.

Among the equipment being used in the fight is an air tanker from Newfoundland, three air tankers from New Brunswick, two helicopters and two more water bombers that arrived Tuesday from Quebec, he said.

Rudderham said the whole province is "very dry," and urged all Nova Scotians to be careful anywhere they go.

"Anything can start a fire," he said.

Rob Roberts, The Canadian Press

©2016 The Canadian Press

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