Wildfire threatens Canadian city of Halifax


Evacuation orders were issued Monday as an out-of-control wildfire threatened to engulf thousands of homes in Halifax, the capital of the Canadian east coast province of Nova Scotia.

A state of emergency was declared late Sunday in the outer suburbs as the flames burned through forest, causing the evacuation order affecting about 18,000 residents to date.

“It’s a very stressful time for people,” said Halifax Regional Municipality Mayor Mike Savage. “It’s devastating. It’s life-changing for people who have been impacted by this. It’s a very serious fire.”

The direction of the fast-moving fire was unpredictable and people might have to leave with short notice, he said, The mayor said it was imperative to avoid the affected areas.

“All efforts are being made to support fighting that fire today,” Savage said. “It’s really important…that people not go back onto the scene. The fires can start and restart. We don’t know where it could be affected next, so people have to stay away.”

Two helicopters carrying officials were tracking the fire to determine the direction of the fast-moving blaze as winds shifted and people might have to leave homes on short notice, Savage said.

“Residents are also reminded that the current evacuation orders are mandatory, which means residents must evacuate in accordance with local authorities, such as police, firefighters and ground search and rescue,” the Halifax Regional Municipality said in a release. About 100 firefighters were battling the blaze.

“We’ve been really, really grateful for the help we’re getting from other Nova Scotia fire departments and other first responder agencies,” Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Deputy Chief Dave Meldrum said. “But this is absolutely a significant challenge for us.”

As of Sunday night, no injuries had been reported, the mayor said.

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