Crews battle 2 'erratic' forest fires near Barrington

·2 min read
Two forest fires are happening near Barrington in southwestern Nova Scotia. (Department of Lands and Forestry - image credit)
Two forest fires are happening near Barrington in southwestern Nova Scotia. (Department of Lands and Forestry - image credit)

Crews from the Department of Lands and Forestry are battling two "erratic" forest fires in southwestern Nova Scotia that erupted on Wednesday.

The department said the fires were detected outside Barrington around 12:30 p.m. Smoke could be seen from Highway 103 as the fires raged.

One fire is small — less than a hectare in size — but the other has grown to about 100 hectares.

Paul Schnurr, duty officer at the lands and forestry fire control centre in Shubenacadie, said there was less smoke Thursday than there had been Wednesday, as the larger fire had become "quite quiet."

"But the potential is there, depending on what the weather does today, for the fire to pick back up and become active again," Schnurr said Thursday.

Unsafe firefighting conditions

The department said three structures are at risk, but wind conditions have made it unsafe to put firefighters in the area.

"It was a very active fire with crowning and spot fires thrown ahead of the main fire by embers. It was inaccessible, so we had to take crews and equipment in by helicopter," said Schnurr.

There were 15 staff in the area Wednesday afternoon, and the department has been using two helicopters to drop water on the flames. As of Thursday afternoon, that number increased to 20.

The department said volunteer fire crews have not been called in due to the erratic fire behaviour and the remote location.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Schnurr said what's burning now are likely hotspots hiding deep in the ground or logs. He said they expect to be on site cleaning and containing the area for two to three days, possibly longer if there's no rain.

"The weather has been in our favour and really calmed the fire down, so we've done a lot of good work securing the perimeter to keep it from reigniting and growing in size," he said.

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