Gusty winds and low humidity could fuel a raging forest fire near the city of Halifax in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. The fire has already forced the evacuation of several thousand people, the services warned. Media reported that around 200 homes and other buildings were damaged. “The images we see are heartbreaking,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The fire, dubbed the Tantallon Fire, which broke out on the outskirts of the port city of Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia province, was 837 hectares on Wednesday morning, according to David Steeves of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. “It could be very dangerous today,” he said at a press conference, noting the forecasted strong gusts of wind and low humidity.
The fire, which is burning about 30 kilometers west of the city center, has caused the evacuation of 18,000 residents in districts and towns on the outskirts of the city. About 200 homes and other buildings were damaged, CBC television reported, citing local authorities. No fatalities were recorded.
An evacuation order was issued for parts of Bedford, Halifax County, on Tuesday after a new fire and a risk of an ammonia spill in the area were reported, CBC News reported. The evacuations led to traffic jams in normally quiet neighborhoods, Reuters reported.
A state of emergency applies
On Sunday, Halifax authorities declared a state of emergency that is expected to remain in place for a week, but could be extended depending on how the situation develops.
“Residents are not allowed to return to their homes until advised by the local authority that it is safe to do so,” the Halifax Regional Municipality said in a statement.
“The pictures we see are heartbreaking”
Forest fires also led to the evacuation of about 400 homes in the province of New Brunswick over the weekend.
“The stories and images we see in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are heartbreaking,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. He promised federal support to fight the fires.
More than a million hectares have burned in Alberta
Earlier in May, Canada’s western province of Alberta declared a state of emergency after tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate due to raging forest fires. More than a million hectares have burned since the beginning of the year. At the beginning of the week, there were 60 fires in forest areas, the government agency Alberta Wildfire reported. Over 5.2 thousand people still unable to return to their homes.
Reuters, tvnmeteo.pl, PAP
Main photo source: Twitter/RCMP Nova Scotia