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Highway 103 set to re-open, schools closed in Shelburne

By Kevin Northup Jun 3, 2023 | 11:32 AM

DNRR firefighters Walter Scott of Churchover and Zac Simpson of Whycocomagh. (CNS Photo)

Rain is falling, and that’s good news for wildfires in Shelburne County.

Dave Rockwood with DNRR says a wind shift last night made the fire in Barrington Lake grow to 24,950 hectares.

“We’re starting to put hoses out and attack closer in communities that we haven’t been able to get to. We’ll continue progression with our dozer breaks,” said Rockwood.

He warns conditions will be smoky in Barrington.

They’re also making progress on a preliminary report of civic addresses with property damage.

DNRR staff will look to hand that over to the municipalities of Barrington and Shelburne over the next day or two.

Over 7,000 people have been evacuated, and a return to their homes is likely a week away, at least.

Rockwood is urging people to stay out of the evacuated zones.

Click play below to hear the full update with Dave Rockwood.

Reopening of Highway 103

Shelburne residents will be pleased to hear that as of 10:00 a.m. Monday morning, officials will be opening highway 103 for people to be escorted through the impacted area.

Areas within the evacuation zone that are off of the 103 will still be restricted until officials deem them safe to be reopened.

“There’s a lot of business a lot of industry down here and a lot of people in general rely on that road,” said DNRR spokesperson for the Shelburne fire complex, Dave Rockwood.

Pubnico and Lake Road fires under control

Rockwood was happy to announce that the smaller fires in Pubnico and near Lake Road are now considered under control.

“We’ll be going into a patrol and mop up status on those so we can put some more resources to focus in the Barrington Lake area,” said Rockwood.

DNRR firefighter Walter Scott of Churchover, Shelburne County, sprays the ground while the water bomber flies by to dump a load of water on the fire. (Communications Nova Scotia photo)

Soaking rain on the way

Environment Canada is calling for soaking rain to start Sunday afternoon and to persist into Tuesday morning, which will hopefully provide much more relief.

A low-pressure system is developing off the U.S. eastern seaboard and has the potential to bring significant rainfall amounts to start the week across many areas in Nova Scotia.

There is uncertainty at this time of the heaviest total amounts, but it is forecasted to be between 40 and 80 mm.

The national forecaster says to be aware of any alerts regarding a rainfall warning.  Those are issued in the Maritimes when total amounts are expected to be 50 mm in 24 hours, and 75 mm in 48 hours.

Some evacuation orders lifted

The mandatory and recommended evacuation orders have been lifted for Lake Road and Sandy Point through to the Jordan Branch Road in Shelburne County.

Significant progress has been made by the wildland firefighters working on the Lake Road wildfire.

It is now safe for residents of Lake Road and Sandy Point through to the Jordan Branch Road to return to their homes. All residents, including those returning home today, should continue to be prepared to evacuate and monitor alerts.

The area of the Lake Road wildfire is to be avoided while the wildland firefighters continue to work on it. As first responder vehicles continue to operate, please slow down in areas impacted by the fires and give emergency vehicles space.

School closures

All schools in Shelburne County will be closed Monday and Tuesday as crews continue to battle the wildfire.

Masks available to help with smoke

N95 masks are available at locations throughout Yarmouth Municipality, the Town of Yarmouth, and the Municipality of Argyle.

The N95 masks are available at locations throughout Yarmouth Municipality, the Town of Yarmouth, and the Municipality of Argyle:

  • South Ohio Esso
  • Carleton County Outfitters
  • Port Maitland Store (Shore Grocery)
  • Carl’s Store in Tusket & Wedgeport
  • De La Tour Co-Op
  • Tusket Ultramar
  • Paul d’Entremont Marine
  • Mariners on Main
  • Fire Hall Comfort Centre

The Yarmouth Mariners Centre will be open to pick up masks on Sunday, June 4th, from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Help arrived 

Firefighters from Northeastern United States arrived for briefings at the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables depot in Shubenacadie Saturday, before heading to Shelburne County to help fight the fires.


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