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More federal resources to help fight the wildfires ripping through parts of Nova Scotia are expected to be announced today.
Central Nova Liberal MP Sean Fraser, the federal cabinet representative for the province, said Thursday morning that Ottawa will approve whatever requests for assistance it can.
"We're going to do everything we can to help keep people safe and to fight these fires and to protect our home province of Nova Scotia," Fraser told the CBC's Information Morning.
"The attitude is to get whatever help is necessary to help protect Nova Scotians into the province so we can do our part."
An out-of-control wildfire burning through parts of Shelburne County is the largest on record in the province, and additional fires have started in the area. Another wildfire near Halifax has destroyed 150 homes.
Fraser said he spoke with Defence Minister Anita Anand at about 5 a.m. Thursday, and she told him "she's approving every request that is coming her way."
More details will be announced later on Thursday, Fraser said.
He said the federal government has already helped support the efforts by providing aerial surveillance from Transport Canada, crew comfort trailers from the Canadian Coast Guard and Transport Canada, coast guard helicopters and fire trucks from the Defence Department.
Ottawa will also contribute to a matching program through the Canadian Red Cross to provide financial assistance, and will support the province through the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements program so it can give monetary help to people who have been affected.
"The federal government will be there to help backstop the cost so the province of Nova Scotia shouldn't be in a position where they're choosing not to provide supports to people because they won't have the cash to cover it," Fraser said.
Historic forest fire
The biggest fire started in Barrington Lake in Shelburne County on Saturday and at last estimate is spread over 17,185 hectares. About 50 residences have been destroyed and firefighters have spotted flames nearly 100 metres tall.
On Wednesday evening, a reported forest fire northeast of the large, out-of-control fire near Barrington led to evacuation notices for some residents. The fire near Lake Road in the Municipality of Shelburne was estimated at 20 hectares in size on Wednesday evening, with the potential to grow.
A mandatory evacuation order for civic addresses 1518 Lake Rd., through to Jordan Bay, and from 674 Sandy Point Rd., through Lower Sandy Point, Jordan Bay, and Jordan Ferry to the Jordan Branch Road. Jordan Branch Road remains open.
To exit the Sandy Point Peninsula, residents are advised to exit through Sandy Point to avoid heavy smoke conditions through to Jordan Ferry.
An evacuation recommendation for 243 Sandy Point Rd. to 650 Sandy Point Rd., including Roseway Park, School Street, Commission Street, Harbourside Landing, Mayflower Road (the old boys' school), Shelburne Diesel, Shelburne Ship Repair, Ven-Rez, Bill Harris Transport, Coastal Trails, Adamant Drive, and Lake Road up to civic address 1536.
Editor's note: The exact location of the Jordan Ferry-area fire cannot be shown until it's mapped by fire officials. The dotted line represents the evacuation area.
As of Wednesday, more than 2,300 homes had been evacuated in the Shelburne County area, according to RCMP Chief Supt. Sue Black, displacing about 5,000 people.
The Roseway Manor nursing home has been evacuated, and all schools in Shelburne County are closed Thursday and Friday.
A mandatory evacuation order for east of 2794 Highway 3, Barrington, is in effect, which includes all of Oak Park Road and Factory Hill Road until the Shelburne County line.
As well, patients have been evacuated from Roseway Hospital in Shelburne, according to Nova Scotia Health, and the site is closed.
Fifteen patients have been transferred to South Shore Regional Hospital in Bridgewater and Fishermen's Memorial Hospital in Lunenburg. Others were transferred to hospitals both inside and outside the western zone or discharged.
Nova Scotia Health also announced that the Roseway Hospital emergency department will be closed and services at the site will be cancelled until further notice.
Residents of Barrington who have been evacuated are being asked to check in at 902-637-7899.
Mandatory evacuation orders are also in place for all communities from Port Clyde through to Baccaro and along Highway 309 to the intersection of Oak Park Road and Highway 3 in Barrington West, and from 800 Upper Clyde Rd. to 2461 Upper Clyde Rd.
A reception centre has been set up at the Sandy Wickens Memorial Arena in Barrington, and comfort centres have been set up at the Shelburne Fire Hall and the Municipality of Barrington municipal building.
Residents of the Municipality of Shelburne who have left their homes are asked to check in with the municipal office at 902-875-3544, extension 245, to let officials know they are safe and out of the fire zone. Anyone who needs help with the evacuation can call 902-875-8407.
An evacuation centre has been set up at 63 King St. in Shelburne at the fire department auditorium.
The Town of Yarmouth has opened a comfort centre at the Yarmouth Fire Hall at 221 Pleasant St. in Yarmouth. It is open 24 hours for anyone who has been displaced by wildfires.
The Canadian Red Cross has shelters at the following locations:
- Barrington: Sandy Wickens Memorial Arena, 12 Park Lane, Sherose Island.
- Shelburne: Municipal Building and Fire Hall, 63 King Street, Shelburne.
- Halifax: Canada Games Centre in Halifax, 26 Thomas Raddall Dr, Halifax.
Another nearby wildfire burning in Pubnico in neighbouring Yarmouth County is burning out of control at 163 hectares. The Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday nearly 30 firefighters are on scene as well as three helicopters.