A new fire broke out on Lake Road about 20 kilometres south of the town of Shelburne Wednesday night. That fire is now out-of-control and covers about 20 hectares.  

Twenty firefighters from the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables (DNRR) are battling the fire, along with three helicopters and one water bomber from Newfoundland and Labrador. As the Examiner reported on Wednesday, volunteer firefighters in Shelburne pleaded for more help, including water bombers and air support, saying the fire was too hot to fight from the ground.

A video here shows the smoke billowing over the county as well as damage to a roadway bridge between Clyde River and Port Clyde.

Patients at the Roseway Hospital in Shelburne were evacuated to other hospitals due to the poor air quality. Several hundred residents along Lake Road, Sandy Point Road, as well as in Jordan Bay and Jordan Falls were also told to leave their homes — many of whom are involved in the lobster fishery. On Wednesday morning at Sandy Point Road, there was smoke visible from another fire burning across the bay. 

A white lighthouse with a red roof stands on a point of land jutting out into the ocean. There is a haze of smoke in the faint blue sky and a rocky beach in the foreground.
A haze of smoke from the Barrington Lake/Shelburne County wildfire hangs over the Sandy Point lighthouse. Credit: Jennifer Henderson

The cause of the latest fire near the town of Shelburne is unknown, but it increases the jeopardy for 15,000 people living in Shelburne County, where a fire covering 170 square kilometres has been burning out of control since Sunday.  

That fire began at Barrington Lake to the west of Shelburne. Barrington warden Eddie Nickerson told CBC Radio this morning an estimated 3,000 people in the Barrington and Shelburne areas have now been evacuated from their homes. That’s about 20% the population of Shelburne county.  

On Wednesday, Dave Steeves with the Department of Natural Resources told reporters at a news conference that the department has identified 50 homes or camps in the area that have been destroyed. The warden said he hopes that information will be available to residents later today or tomorrow. 

Most of those out of their homes are staying with family or friends but need to come to comfort centers at the Shelburne fire hall or Barrington arena to register with the Red Cross so they may receive financial assistance. The province has promised $500 to help with immediate expenses and the Red Cross is launching a public campaign for additional donations. Central Nova MP Sean Fraser said federal assistance through the Disaster Relief program will be sent to the province.

A map that shows the town of Shelburne circled in an orange dotted line and a peninsula area with the communities of Jordan Ferry, Jordan Bay, Lower Jordan Bay, Lower Sandy Point. A pink area in the bottom left-hand corner of the map shows the location of the wildfire
A map showing the incident area of the fire in Barrington and Shelburne. Credit: NS Government/Shelburne County East Emergency Management

Schools in both the Shelburne and Barrington areas remain closed as they have been all week. Over the past two days, nursing home residents at Surf Lodge in Barrington and 66 people at Roseway Manor in Shelburne have been moved to beds at Acadia University. 

With temperatures soaring to the mid-30s today and winds expected to pick up this afternoon, it may be too hot for firefighters to go into the woods to battle the blaze. Air support is critical. There are now three out of control blazes near the town of Shelburne, a large area above Barrington Lake, and in Pubnico on the border of Yarmouth County. Heavy equipment is being marshalled to try and create fire breaks, a tactic that will also be used to try and contain the out-of-control fire outside Halifax at Tantallon.

Click here to visit our Nova Scotia wildfires resource page.

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

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