A wildfire in the eastern Canadian city of Halifax led to mandatory evacuation orders for thousands of homes, with officials saying residents are not allowed to return until advised by municipal authorities.
Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said about 18,000 people were impacted by evacuations.
The evacuation orders issued Sunday cover areas of Hammonds Plains, Upper Tantallon and Pockwock. These suburban communities are home to many of the city’s workers and are situated about 15 miles from Halifax. Residents in nearby neighbourhoods, which are surrounded by forest, were left uneasy throughout the night.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted on Monday that the wildfire situation in the province of Nova Scotia, where Halifax is located, is “incredibly serious”, and that his government was ready to provide any assistance if needed.
Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Deputy Chief Dave Meldrum told reporters on Monday morning the fire burning in the Tantallon and Hammonds Plains area was “ongoing and still not under control.” The cause of the fire was still being probed and there were no reports yet of deaths and injuries.
Meldrum added about 100 firefighters were battling the fires overnight. He also said emergency crews had a lot of work to do for “many days” ahead.
The city declared a state of local emergency late on Sunday after the wildfire caused evacuations and power outages, with authorities also shutting several schools in the affected areas.
The wildfire, aided by strong winds and tinder-dry woods, damaged dozens of homes and also hampered rescue services. The state of emergency would be in effect for seven days, unless lifted or extended, the municipality said.
Western Canadian provinces of Alberta, which goes to the polls on Monday, and British Columbia have also been dealing with an unusually warm spring this year that has sparked several out-of-control wildfires, cutting oil and gas production. But most of those fires have since been brought under control, helping oil and gas production to resume.
In the main oil-producing province of Alberta, the intensity of one of the most challenging wildfire seasons in years continued to ease, allowing oil and gas producers to restart production that they had temporarily shut in out of caution.
Crescent Point Energy (CPG.TO) said it restored the 45,000 barrels of oil equivalent of output it had previously paused, while Paramount Resources (POU.TO) said it restored most of the production it had curtailed due to the fires.