Crews were making progress Thursday battling a wildfire in a remote area of Nova Scotia’s Yarmouth County as summer temperatures were recorded across the province, Department of Natural Resources officials said.
Kara McCurdy, a wildfire prevention officer, said the fire was moving southwest from South Horseshoe Lake toward the small community of Quinan, but was still about three miles away and not there was no risk to homes or other infrastructure.
Quinan is located about 27 kilometers northeast of Yarmouth, where the temperature was estimated at 26C on Thursday.
Two helicopters, a Newfoundland and Labrador CL-415 water bomber and 40 firefighters were battling the blaze, which started on Monday. On Thursday it was estimated at just over 3,100 hectares – about the same size as the day before.
“We feel pretty good this morning about this one,” Scott Tingley, forest protection officer, told CBC Radio. maritime noon.
“It moved quickly, it covered a large area, but it’s not digging deep, and this fire is certainly our main concern right now in the province.”
The humidity helped the crews, despite warm temperatures and a light breeze.
“Whenever a fire burns, the weather can do strange things, but we are very confident that we are able to contain this fire and that it will not flare up to threaten the community,” Paul Schnurr, the incident department commander, said Thursday afternoon.
An incident command center was set up in Tusket, about 32 kilometers west of the blaze, as crews continued to work.
Schnurr said the water bomber was key to slowing the spread of the fire and crews had begun to extinguish hotspots on the ground.
“It’s a good day to work on this fire. It’s not moving. It’s less intense so we can do a lot of work,” he said. “But due to the nature of this fire, where not everything was burnt cleanly, it has a high potential for re-ignition, so we want to make sure we secure the edge very well.”
McCurdy said the fire was about 10 per cent contained and there was less smoke in the air, prompting Environment Canada to lift several air quality alerts issued earlier in the week for southwestern Nova Scotia.
But McCurdy warned that warmer spring weather could make the fire grow bigger in the coming days.
“It would probably increase slightly – not significantly at this point – given the weather … so it will really all depend on the weather for the next couple of days,” she said.
CBC meteorologist Ryan Snoddon said humidity is expected to drop Thursday afternoon, but winds will remain light.
He said more sunshine was expected for Friday and Saturday, with afternoon humidity close to 50% and the wind picking up slightly, gusting to 20 to 30 kph on both days.
However, the area could get some relief in the form of light rain and drizzle on Sunday.
McCurdy said she hoped the 10 to 15 millimeters of rain would help crews get the fire under control.
“We’ll probably get it under control…in the next few days, but to completely remove it, I know it will take weeks and weeks,” she said.
Tingley said no additional equipment or personnel were called in Thursday, although additional air and ground support from neighboring provinces is available if needed.
“We feel ready to face anything that could crush us,” he said.
Thursday: No burning in Queens, Shelburne or Yarmouth counties today. Restricted burning until 7 p.m. in all other counties.
In the meantime, Tingly reminded Nova Scotians to check daily burning restrictions to prevent further fires.
There are burning restrictions in Queens, Shelburne and Yarmouth counties.
“We certainly want to avoid all new starts if possible, so we urge everyone to be careful out there in the woods,” he said.