All but largest wildfire near Keji under control

via The Chronicle Herald  A water bomber helps fight the fire at the Seven Mile Lake in Annapolis County. (Communications Nova Scotia)

 Favourable conditions Tuesday evening allowed firefighters to gain control over several forest fires burning in Annapolis, Pictou and Queens counties as 20 firefighters from New Brunswick are expected to arrive Wednesday to help battle the fire near Kejimkujik National Park.

The relentless 240-hectare wildfire at Seven Mile Lake did not grow during the day Tuesday. Crews were successful in building fire breaks in strategic areas due to the limited growth seen during the day.

Jim Rudderham, the province’s operation manager for forest protection, says forecasters are predicting unfavourable fire-fighting conditions today — low humidity, lots of sun and brisk winds.

Among the equipment being used in the fight is an air tanker from Newfoundland, three air tankers from New Brunswick, two helicopters and two more water bombers that arrived Tuesday from Quebec, adding to the four bombers already being used.

Two new fires reported in Ten Mile Lake and Clyde River, Shelburn County, of 8 hectares and 2.5 hectares respectively, were both expected to be contained by Tuesday night due to favourable conditions limiting flame activity.

A fire reported in West Dalhousie on Tuesday afternoon has been contained.


The fire at Seven Mile Lake as depicted on Aug. 8.

Despite the progress, a special air quality statement was also made for Annapolis County Wednesday due to smoke from the Seven Mile Lake fire being carried southeast over portions of both Annapolis and Queens counties. An approaching front will result in winds shifting the smoke into Lunenburg and Kings counties Wednesday morning. People are asked to stay indoors if having breathing difficulties, use an air conditioner which filters air if possible and to not open windows. Higher pollution levels are expected to continue into Thursday according to a news release by the Government of Canada.

Trunk 8 near Maitland Bridge will remain closed due to water bombing in the area.

Starting noon Tuesday, the province began restricting all travel on public wooded land, included some hiking trails and camping spots.

Even city parks like Long Lake Provincial Park are being locked at night to cut down on the chance of fires being started.

Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines said Monday these restrictions will be in place for a minimum of two weeks.

They are meant to limit the risk of additional wildfires.

Parks Canada has also closed the backcountry of Kejimkujik National Park.

In a Tuesday news release, the federal agency said there is no immediate risk to visitors, staff and wildlife. There is also no risk of forest fires to the Kejimkujik inland or seaside.

Parks Canada in another news release Wednesday said the Kejimkujik Seaside would be closed as of 12 p.m. Wednesday. The front country, which includes Jeremy’s Bay and Jim Charles Group Campground, is still open but visitors are asked to respect restrictions due to the extremely dry conditions. The seaside will be closed as of 12 p.m. Wednesday.

Restrictions include:

– A full fire ban which prevents campfires at all times of the day

– All backcountry activities are restricted

– Front country trails remain open with the exception of trails off Big Dam Lake Road and off Eel Weir Road past Grafton Lake

– Big Dam Road and Eel Weir Road are closed

The best way to access the Kejimkujik inland is from the south side of Trunk 8 in Queens County. Trunk 8, north of the park, is closed due to firefighting operations.

Meanwhile, five other wildfires are burning in Annapolis, Queens, Pictou and Cumberland counties.

The Perch Lake fire is contained, and is roughly 10 hectares in size.

The fires at Maitland Bridge, Greenfield and Collingwood are all contained.

Burning bans are in effect for these areas, and in much of the province.

The cause of the fires are still under investigation.

Municipalities are placing their own restrictions in wake of the wildfires.

Halifax Regional Municipality

Supporting travel restrictions on provincial & Crown land in HRM, but not restricting park use at this time.

Annapolis

All municipally-owned parks and trails are closed until further notice, with the exception of Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Park, Hebb’s Landing and Raven Haven Beachside Family Park.

Digby

Balancing Rock trail is closed.

Yarmouth

Tkipok Trail, Forchu River Trail are closed.

Shelburne

Some trail systems will be restricted.

Queens

Pine Grove Park and all municipal trails are closed. Beach Meadows will remain open.

Lunenburg

The following trails are closed: Miller Point Peace Park, MARC Trails, Indian Path Common, LaHave River Trail, Bay to Bay Trail, Dynamite Trail, Bull Run Trail, Adventure Trail, South Shore Annapolis Valley Trail and the Arthur Run Trail.

Colchester

Recreational hiking trails throughout Truro, Bible Hill and parts of Colchester County including Victoria Park hiking paths are closed.

Original publish date: Aug. 9, 2016

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