Halifax Fire’s deputy chief pleaded with people to stop with illegal burning as wildfires continued across the province and new fires started in locations around HRM.

“We’re having a very, very busy afternoon due to fire activity,” said Dave Meldrum during Thursday’s 5pm briefing. “We’ve had 12 outside fires since noon today. We also have other major fires underway.”

One of those fires is at the historic Waegwoltic Club on Coburg Road in Halifax. That fire began early Thursday afternoon. Meldrum said there are 50 firefighters on that fire who are using a “defensive” strategy because the fire is too severe.

Meldrum said some artifacts and photos were saved from the club, but the building will have “significant structural damage, perhaps destruction.”

Another fire started in the Prospect Road and St. Margaret’s Bay Road area around 2:45pm. Meldrum said that fire has been knocked out. Meldrum said that means open flames have been suppressed and firefighters are dealing with smouldering in the area. There are two units on scene. He added that off-duty firefighters were being called in given the number of calls Thursday.

Meldrum said since most outdoor fires are caused by people, starting today Halifax firefighters were told if they find an illegal burn, they are to report it to the fire prevention division, which will follow up with enforcement.

At a news conference this afternoon, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said one resident was burning leaves with a propane torch.

“Enforcement will probably mean summary offence tickets to some residents who disobey the current burn ban restrictions,” Meldrum said. “This is important. It’s about keeping each other safe. It’s about helping our firefighters attend to the emergencies that are impacting all of us.”

David Steeves, a technician of forest resources with the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables, said today’s winds weren’t as strong as expected.

“That is one of the main reasons we were able to be as effective as we were,” Steeves said. He said there is still smoke and a lot of “challenging work left to do.”

Steeves also said “we need to do better” when it comes to people burning illegally.

“We need to think about our neighbours. This isn’t an individual situation,” Steeves said. “This is a collective problem. We need to come together as a province and do what’s best, not only for ourselves, but for our neighbours. This is a particularly serious situation, not just in Halifax, but across the province.”

The fires in Shelburne and Barrington continue to burn out of control and about 40% of the population of Shelburne County has been evacuated. As the Examiner reported this morning, a new fire started on Lake Road on Wednesday. That fire is out of control and covers about 20 hectares.

A badge that says Natural Resources and Renewables Nova Scotia with an eagle flying above the trees is seen on the sleeve of a beige shirt. In the background is a group of firefighters dressed in navy blue t-shirts, pants, and baseball hats standing in a row.
Firefighters with the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables wait to leave for the Northwest Territories to help fight fires. Credit: Communications Nova Scotia

Meldrum also reminded residents who were evacuated from their homes in HRM to call 311 or register online as municipal staff are calling those residents who have registered to provide updated information on the status of their homes and properties.

Meldrum said the firefighters who left for the Northwest Territories in late May will be on the ground in Shelburne on Friday.

Click here to visit our Nova Scotia wildfires resource page.

Suzanne Rent is a writer, editor, and researcher. You can follow her on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent and on Mastodon

Jennifer Henderson is a freelance journalist and retired CBC News reporter.

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  1. Unfortunately, a result of our society adoption of the lack of accountability and responsibility for decisions the last decade or more. Added to this is our unwillingness/inability to want to police ourselves or our own society members, we cannot be mean to them might hurt their feelings crap.
    Just remember as comedian Ron White has said “Can’t fix STUPID” and his friend Jeff Foxworthy – “here’s your sign”
    Our leaders need support plus everyone can be a leader by setting a good example and help in a crisis! God bless all who are experiencing hardship due to theses fires. Keep the firefighters and all who are helping safe.