WorldCanada

Actions

Wildfire on Canada's Atlantic coast spurs evacuation of 16,000 people

Thousands of people have been evacuated with hundreds of houses damaged as emergency crews battle a wildfire on Canada's Atlantic coast.
Thick plumes of heavy smoke fill the Halifax sky.
Posted at 5:08 PM, May 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-30 17:08:59-04

A wildfire on Canada’s Atlantic coast has damaged about 200 houses and other structures and prompted the evacuation of 16,000 people, many of whom were eager to return Tuesday to see whether homes and pets had survived.

Firefighters worked through the night to extinguish hot spots in the fire that started in the Halifax area on Sunday, Halifax Deputy Fire Chief David Meldrum said. He said it was too early to give an exact count of homes destroyed, but the municipal government put the toll at about 200 buildings.

Dan Cavanaugh was among two dozen people waiting Tuesday in a Halifax-area parking lot to learn if their suburban homes had been consumed by the wildfire.

A firefighter tries to extinguish the flames at a burning house as the South Fire burns in Lytle creek.

State Farm will no longer issue property insurance in California

State Farm's decision comes less than a year after the state announced new regulations meant to benefit homeowners.

LEARN MORE

"We're like everyone else in this lot," said the 48-year-old insurance adjuster. "We're not sure if we have a house to go back to or the extent of the damages."

Police officers were writing down the names of residents and calling people to be escorted to see what had become of their properties.

Sarah Lyon of the Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said an eight-member team was preparing to head out into the evacuation zone to retrieve animals left behind.

In all, about 16,000 people have been ordered to leave their homes northwest of Halifax, most of which are within a 30-minute drive of the port city's downtown. The area under mandatory evacuation orders covers about 38 miles.

Sonya Higgins said she and more than 40 others waited in a nearby supermarket parking lot to be led into the evacuation area, in hopes of retrieving seven cats from two homes.

Higgins runs a cat rescue operation in Halifax, and she says the pet owners contacting her are "frantic" to find their animals and get them to a safe place.

Earlier in the day, fire officials said that with the return of dry, windy conditions on Tuesday, there could be a "reburn" in the evacuated subdivisions.

The extended forecast is calling for hotter weather on Wednesday and no rain until Friday at the earliest.